Compulsive Behavior Side Effects?

More often than not we hear or read about me discussing taking personal responsibility and being personally held accountable for our words and actions. This post won’t be any different. I found it humorous that I was sent the link to the below information and shortly after reading it I heard a damn commercial for the same thing. Odd what we hear on the radio @ 02:30 am while driving my happy ass to work. Anyone, I would assume, who watches television or listens to the radio has seen or heard at least one Ambilify commercial. True or not? Having a son who suffers from mild bipolar disorder we have been bombarded with samples and prescription answers which will somehow magically transform behavior. I tell you from my personal experience, we don’t use my son for a testing ground so big pharmaceuticals can make their billions at the cost of my son’s mental well-being. So, when I saw this bullshit about the lawsuit towards the makers of Ambilify I merely smiled to myself because we all know there is not one single perfect medication with no side effects. While my son has never taken Ambilify, we did research it extensively, just as we have done with many others.

But why are we here right now? But why did I choose to write about it right now? It’s simple, this is another example of people who cannot be responsible for their own actions. It’s about people who blame someone else for their own behavior because they acted without self control. It’s because people want the quick fix. It’s about people who choose to not read the small print or they choose to ignore the small print. Yes, I find this lawsuit as being fucking stupid because people made bad choices but don’t want to take responsibility for their own decisions. But then we know in our society nobody is forced to be held accountable, it’s always somebody else at fault. Bullshit! If we fuck up we just sue someone because we can profit from our lack of responsibility. Or have we forgot that coffee from a fast food joint is extremely hot and will burn the fuck out out your crotch if you spill it? People are dumbasses. Let this be yet just one more example.

The following information was originally found here and provided by a leading contributor to The Scorpion Army. I don’t have any express or otherwise permissions to copy this story from the above linked website or to use it on my blog as part of a post which includes my personal opinion. Hopefully they understand I do not support the lawsuit efforts but do not hold the above website responsible for posting this story. In the end, if they wish that I remove it in part or completely it will happen swiftly and immediately. The two pictures were borrowed from the internet using Google. Remember, I neither gain or loose anything by sharing the following information, it’s just being shared because I found it truly interesting.

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Abilify has been linked to compulsive behavior side effects, such as pathological gambling, binge eating and hypersexuality. These behaviors are thought to be triggered by the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

One of the most popular treatments for a variety of mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,  makes billions for Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company. It was the top-selling drug in the U.S. in 2013 with sales of over $6.4 billion. The drug works by either increasing or decreasing dopamine or serotonin in the brain when there is an imbalance, and this makes it useful for a variety of approved and unapproved uses.

However, the drug is also linked to disturbing compulsive behavior side effects that can wreak havoc on the lives of patients and their families.

Among these side effects, compulsive or pathological gambling can be financially crippling, and it can destroy lives. People in the grip of compulsive behaviors will do anything they can to continue the chosen activity, even if it means ignoring the rest of their lives and withdrawing from friends and family.

This side effect in particular may lead to lawsuits against Bristol-Myers and Otsuka America, claiming the companies did not properly warn patients and doctors of this serious side effect.

In addition, reports of other side effects include compulsive eating, shopping and even sex addiction.

How Abilify Causes Compulsive Behavior

While doctors aren’t exactly sure how Abilify (aripiprazole) works, they believe it acts on receptors in the brain for chemicals that regulate mood and behavior. These chemicals are neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin.

handful of medications

When the dopamine system is stimulated in response to a particular activity, people will feel a high from it or a feeling of pleasure. This reward system normally ensures that we continue to eat and do other things we need to do to survive. In people with mental disorders, these systems are stimulated excessively, or not enough.

Researchers think Abilify may over-stimulate dopamine reward receptors in the brain – called dopamine 3 (D3) receptors – and trigger compulsive behavior.

Compulsive Gambling

Several case studies focused on a connection between aripiprazole and compulsive behavior, also called pathological behavior, especially in the case of gambling. One French study published in 2013 by Gaboriau, et al., examined several people who checked into a clinic because of their compulsive gambling behaviors. Study authors looked at eight individuals who took Abilify as part of ongoing medical treatment. Researchers found the drug caused seven of the eight patients to lose control of their gambling habits.

After discontinuing the drug or greatly reducing the dose, patients regained control of their compulsive behaviors, researchers wrote.

Another 2011 case study by Cohen, et al. found similar results in patients treated for schizophrenia. No patients in this study had a history of pathological gambling. Soon after taking the drug, they began gambling uncontrollably.

Similarly, a 2011 British study conducted by the National Problem Gambling Clinic found a relationship between Abilify and the drive to gamble in some patients. Doctors described one case in which a patient took the antipsychotic and “was preoccupied with thoughts of gambling and his gambling activity became both impulsive and involved extensive planning in obtaining funds to gamble, including the use of crime.”

Another patient said gambling became “a reason to live” after he took the drug.

In all cases, gambling problems resolved after discontinuing Abilify and switching to another drug.

Now That I Have Your Attention

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Did this post title grab your attention? Good, because that’s what this post is going to be about, getting the attention of the reader or visitor of your blog. Oddly enough, I get many compliments on my blog, how it is laid out, it’s flow, and it’s overall vibe. I’m very intentional when it comes to what is seen, there are no accidents here, it all has one very direct purpose, I want readers to be visually stimulated long enough to make them inquisitive. I have 8 seconds or less to do this, 8 seconds to either make an impact or to bore y’all to tears. Now, I get asked repeatedly how I figure out what I want my blog to look like, to feel like, and what reaction I shoot for. So, finally I let myself get talked into sharing my secrets and my model. Remember, this is how I do it personally, it’s not going to work for everyone.

In today’s technology-fueled and fast paced world, there are distractions in every direction. Our ever shrinking attention span makes it extremely challenging for bloggers to reach their potential visitors. Getting our virtual message across quickly becomes critical. Think of it like a billboard along a highway, a vehicle speeding along @ 70mph has 2-4 seconds to take in the information. With digital information at our fingertips, communicating to visitors is no different; you have just seconds to make that all important everlasting impression.

Depending on the generation y’all are directing your information to, the average attention span can vary wildly. Younger visitors, for example, are especially difficult to grab the attention of, having grown-up with the internet at their fingertips, their attention span is relatively short. Boomers on the other hand, may take a few extra seconds to consider the information being presented. On average, you have roughly 8 seconds to make that all important lasting impression, good or bad.

So how do you do it? Here are a few of my personal ways I’ve learned over the years on getting my message noticed.

State what you want to communicate immediately. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t get cute or clever, just tell them what you want or how they can benefit from it. They’ll either be interested or they won’t, end of story.

Use unique imagery. As George Carlin said, “If you put two things together that has never been put together before, someone will buy it from you.” Combining images to create something that jars the imagination can stop someone in their tracks long enough to arouse curiosity.

Ask a question. Questions gets the mind thinking and humans are problem solvers by nature. When a question is put in front of us, our subconscious mind begins to work on it. When it comes to your blogging message, get the visitors thinking of how it will better them for reading until the end.

Add a little mystery. This technique is completely opposite of tip 1, however, if used effectively, it can stop someone dead in their tracks. Wrap your post in such a way that the visitors wants to find out more, thus creating a desire or passion for your message.

Tease them. Similar to creating a mystery, teasing arouses curiosity by providing just enough information to get their attention. Teaser ads are often used in print and sometimes outdoor. When using this strategy, timing, punch, and impact is everything. Make sure the time span between the teaser and the actual message is short enough that the visitor doesn’t forget about the teaser to begin with. As the old saying goes… “Always leave them begging for more.”

Use humor. A light-hearted image, a clever statement, or a quick joke or pun is a good method on getting someone’s attention. We all enjoy a good laugh or something that makes us smile.

Keep it simple stupid. Like a billboard, the fewer the words the better. This is sometimes challenging to accomplish, but a shorter message is actually easier to remember and makes the longer impression.

Know your target audience. Even the finest crafted message can miss the mark if aimed at the wrong crowd. Know what you want to achieve and who you need to achieve it. Then customize your message to fit the demographics.

Animate it. Where media dictates, use motion to grab the person’s eye. Colorful, fast moving images are immediate attention getters… just be careful not to over do it… then it just becomes obnoxious.

These tips just cover a few of my basics. Use your creativity to come up with new ways to grab (and hold) the attention of your visitors. I hope I held your attention long enough for you to complete this article. If so, mission accomplished. I don’t typically like doing posts like this, but because the are the basic tools in my box I figured it really couldn’t hurt. The internet is a great and vast place, y’all too will find your niche and make it work. I’m no expert, just a simple man with a blog that I have fun with. Remember that word, fun.

The Land Of The (used to be) Free

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WARNING: if you are not a passionate American DO NOT read this, as it may cause severe anxiety, but if you are a passionate American who loves and cares for America, you are dared to read everything below. If your eyes have been open then most of this list will be a reminder that we the people have long since been free.

What follows are simple statements of reality, NOT what could be, because in the last few years there has been a paradigm shift in America away from a Republic to a full blown dictatorship with more power being consolidated into the hands of a single individual than any American would have ever believed! So please read, and I invite one and all to challenge yourselves to look around, see the changes, and ask yourself and others, WTF.

What follows is a list of rights and freedoms we can now, by law or by executive order, be denied in the land of the (used to be) free, and circumstances that prevail for the powers that be to enforce this madness. It is not an all-inclusive list, but enough to scare the crap out of any Americans wanting to know what the fuck happened while they were sleeping.

You now have lost your right to assembly through HR 374, giving government the ability to arrest and bring felony charges to anyone engaged in political protests anywhere in the USA! Passed by Congress!

You now have lost your right to free speech through HR 374, giving government the ability to arrest and bring felony charges to anyone engaged in verbal or written political protests anywhere in the USA! Passed by Congress!

The president no longer requires the Senate to approve his Tzars, and can appoint any crony or political ally to any high-ranking government office, with impunity from congressional checks and balances with the passage of S 679. This will allow him to consolidate powers not before even considered due to the relationships he may have with these appointed individuals! Passed By congress!

You no longer have the right to due process in any way, shape, or form if our president or his appointed government officials declare you an enemy of the state through the NDAA rider. There is no longer the requirement for the burden of proof, as you have no due process and can be locked away indefinitely, without the prospects of a trial. Passed by congress!

You can now be targeted for assassination, as an American, by the president or his appointed representatives if for any reason you are deemed an enemy of the state and there again is no burden of proof, and no requirement for due process! Passed by presidential executive order!

The president has made law his power to declare a national emergency, defined by him, and may take over all communications within in the USA, both public and private, for a period of time to be determined by him! Passed by presidential executive order!

The president made law his power to declare Martial law in an emergency, defined by him, with the ability to confiscate all properties, both public and private, including farms and livestock, and force citizens into labor to support this agenda! Passed by presidential executive order!

The government has bought, paid for and staffed over 800 internment centers, built under contract by Halliburton industries, strategically placed around the country, and capable of holding hundreds of thousands of Americans for forced reeducation and relocation purposes, without due process and for an indefinite period of time as detailed in DOD report FM 3-39.40.

Your right to reasonable privacy is gone as, through the patriot act, government agencies may spy on you and collect your personal data with legal impunity, whether it be through social media, phone conversations, internet searches, street lights or high flying drones! You will never be truly alone again in your life!

The government is actively hiring tens of thousands of goons and thugs from the dregs of society to man an internal army called by their soft names, the TSA and Homeland Security. These troops will be armed as well as the best combat troops we send abroad to fight our illegal, imperialistic wars, including battle-proven automatic weapons, hundreds of millions of .40 caliber hollow point rounds (only meant to kill), body armor, armored vehicles and, of course, aerial surveillance! They are currently being stationed across the country at strategic locations such as airports, train and bus stations, shopping malls, checkpoints on major highways and even sports events. So, basically, in any place there is significant gathering or the flow of population!

The Military is in the process of training as many as 40,000 returning soldiers in crowd control and riot termination to be used to augment the internal forces mentioned above, even though this is in direct violation of the constitution, which clearly states the standing army is to be used for foreign conflicts and not against the American people!

Now this list, as short as it is only shows the surface of the preparations being made to enslave and subjugate the American population. Are you fucking angry yet? Are you comfortable with the changes?

The struggle for liberty may cost you a lot, BUT, doing nothing WILL cost you EVERYTHING else you hold near and dear.

Please remember, as bleak as this seems, there is hope, because regardless of their power and preparation, the most powerful force in this country has always been and still remains the 321+ million Americans. Together we constitute an unstoppable force that cannot be silenced. But, you the individual has to want your Country back, until then, everyone remains fucked without lubrication.

Only Once A Year On November 11th

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At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.

The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size (from 17 ft to 6 ft) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.

Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border. Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.

Anthem Veterans Memorial

41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, AZ 85086
(623) 742-6050

Photographs by Mike Spinelli

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect).

The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

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Why Toilet Paper Needs Advertisement

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I was looking at my Facebook feed last night, normally a great way for me to keep up with friends and it also provides a great sources of reading material I try to follow regularly, when I came across a picture that wanted to know why toilet paper needs to advertise. I know everyone reading today has seen it. My first reaction, like most of y’all I can only assume, was to smile and agree. Why indeed? After all, everyone is buying toilet paper because they need to buy toilet paper, right? Companies need to advertise things like Android phones, so people will buy them instead of iPhones, Galaxys, or nothing at all, but who, in a modern, in a developed country’s economy, will go without toilet paper? Is it you?

Let’s take a more in depth look at toilet paper advertising. Y’all understand that a company actually does need to advertise for toilet paper as do all the other products, its all about supply and demand sprinkled with a little business economics. Let’s start with the assumption that the marketing staff at Company X, who make Brand X, are properly compensated, and are not out there wasting money on television, radio, Facebook and Google ads like some kind of raging group of fucktards. Company X must have a good reason for spending all that money on advertising. What is it?

Advertising actually serve several distinct purposes. I’m sure the picture of the toilet paper with the overlay joke confused most of the marketing zombies, with everyone else just ignoring it or just not getting the fucking joke altogether. Perhaps there are more important reasons to advertise toilet paper than appears on the surface of this mystery. All companies who produce products need to sell those products to make profits. Companies are not still open today because they lose money now are they? The answer is a big fat fucking no, so they need to advertise to get their products in front of as many consumers they can, like you and I. Advertising serves many purposes, let’s look at them together now.

Product Awareness: This is critically important when you have a new product, either new to the industry or new to your company, and want to make customers aware of it. If we still lived in the days when people wiped their asses with stones or leaves, and you had this amazing new product called “toilet paper”, then the purpose of advertising for toilet paper would be to make consumers aware that a much better alternative exists for your sensitive little bottoms.

Market Share: This is important when the products are generally known, but alternatives exist in the market. To return to our Android phone example, just about everyone in the US knows about cell phones, but they can choose from many brands besides Android. So, the makers of the Android phone advertises its cell phones to drive potential customers to buying an Android over the alternatives.

Increase Consumption: Even if you know of the product, and you prefer a particular brand, you can be brainwashed into purchasing even more of it. If you already know about cell phones, you even have an cell phone, but now you’re considering one for your teenager who is in school. Commercials featuring cell phones in a setting filled with school aged children can again brainwash you to convince you to increase consumption.

In developed markets such as the United States, absolutely everyone knows about toilet paper. Company X doesn’t advertise Product X for product awareness, since everyone knows it exists and we are going to buy it (hence the joke picture). Similarly, no one will increase consumption beyond what they would otherwise. People from Company X use the shitter as often as you and I do, clean themselves with toilet paper, flush the soiled toilet paper, and are done. Unlike cell phones or oranges, no one will buy more than they normally would. Unless you are a prepper, then you have an 8 years supply of it that you guard like gold bars. Maybe, one day in the future, scratching paper will replace paper money like cigarettes did in prisons.

But there is fierce competition among the brands. Company X wants you to really believe in the benefits of their band of toilet paper; while Company Y wants you to prefer their brand. They battle for your market share in toilet paper via commercials and advertisements.

In the end, these competing companies always need to understand why they are advertising a particular product and for whom. The original joke image (not shown in this post) is almost correct. It just needs to end with: “Who is not buying toilet paper to wipe?”

Let’s let this post serve as my good deed for the day. This particular Public Service Announcement (PSA) has been brought to y’all by The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog (T.S.O.T.S.B.) and is in no way affiliated with Company X, Company Y, or the toilet paper industry. I’m merely a consumer of toilet paper as I can only assume many readers here are as well so I wanted to explain the joke, not that y’all needed it explained, but it just shows how money, even money we wipe our ass and flush with, still drives our market. Understanding the economics of toilet paper might get us to think about how and why we spend our hard earned money. The day may come when we need to ration toilet paper or even use it as currency. Enjoy your next trip to the toilet and remember that underpaid workers depend on you flushing as much toilet paper as possible so they have a job tomorrow.

Gabapentin (Neurontin) Addiction

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When I was originally diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy I was prescribed Gabapentin which was still a newish drug to treat the nerve pain in my feet. Within weeks myself and my family really started noticing changes in me we didn’t like. Changes like heavy mood swings, feeling like the walking dead, nauseous always, and much more. I discussed this with my doctor and I was told my body has to get used to the very potent medication and I needed to give it time. After about 6 months I did get used to it I guess you could say, it became a crutch to say the very least. At about that same six month period is when I began using VA medical facilities and I had yet another discussion with another doctor who couldn’t prescribe Gabapentin because the VA didn’t offer it so I was switched to Lyrica. After trying it out for a few months I made the choice to stop taking either of the medications because to me the extreme pain was better than the way on felt taking them. Those of you out there with diabetic
peripheral neuropathy and the associated pain know what it’s like and how its a game changer in one’s overall lifestyle. It’s been 15 months almost to the day since I stopped taking them and I can still say the pain is still better than the side effects. In my own experience, neither worked well for me and the pain I felt while taking the either drug was reduced very little. After some digging I found an article my mother forwarded to me a couple of years back because I was talking with another family member who was recently prescribed Gabapentin and was telling me how it really wasn’t working out for her either. It all got me thinking this morning that I wanted to share with y’all what was once shared with me. I copied and pasted the article but you can find a link to it at the very bottom. Please feel free to share more information or your personal stories in the comments.

***** begin article here ****

When Neurontin was the new drug on the block, physicians believed that they had found a real breakthrough drug to help patients with all kinds of nerve pain.  The drug had fewer side effects and drug interactions than current ones on the market and was classified as non-addictive, which meant you did not have to keep extensive records on it every time you prescribed it.[i] Soon Neurontin was generating over $4 billion a year in sales.[ii]

Then the trouble began.  A whistle-blower from the drug’s manufacturer claimed the company was spinning data on the drug’s effectiveness and using illegal means to promote its off-label uses among physicians.  When the dust settled from civil and criminal lawsuits, Pfizer paid out $572 million to claimants.[iii]  But not to worry. As soon as Neurontin became a cheap drug available generically, Pfizer marketed a close cousin of it named Lyrica, which today generates $3 billion a year in sales.[iv]

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an analog of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that slows down the activity of nerve cells in the brain. This means that gabapentin has a similar structure and is made up of similar chemicals as GABA, although its effect on the body is not the same. The scientists who developed gabapentin were deliberately trying to mimic GABA.

Gabapentin does not convert into GABA, does not inhibit it, does not alter the uptake of dopamine, and does not interact with GABA receptor cells.[v]  How gabapentin works and how it relieves pain and suppresses seizures is unknown.  One theory is that it increases the level of GABA by increasing the activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase, an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of GABA.[vi]

The chemical name for gabapentin is 2-[1-(aminomethyl) cyclohexyl]acetic acid and its molecule looks like this:

Gabapentin is not a Controlled Substance, that is, one that the United States federal government classifies as having potential for addiction and regulates under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act of 1970. However, gabapentin shares characteristics of addictive drugs in that it produces a withdrawal syndrome and certain psychoactive effects.  Its cousin drug, pregabalin, is a Schedule V Controlled Substance.

What are the Medical Uses of Gabapentin?

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved Neurontin for the treatment of seizures in adults and children, especially as a supplemental drug used for the same purpose. In 2002, the FDA approved it for treatment for pain from shingles. Horizant and Gralise are extended release versions of gabapentin that were approved for shingles pain in 2012.[vii] Gabapentin was also approved for restless leg syndrome in 2011.[viii]

When gabapentin was first introduced, doctors were excited about it because it had few side effects and drug interactions compared to competing remedies, and because it was not metabolized through the liver but rather excreted through the kidneys.[ix]  Physicians began to prescribe it off-label for various conditions, including hot flashes during menopause, pain from fibromyalgia, bi-polar disorder, pain after polio, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, alcohol and drug withdrawal seizures, and diabetic neuropathy.[x] Later it was proven that the manufacturers of this drug had exaggerated claims about its effectiveness for various conditions.[xi]  Pregabalin, commonly sold as Lyrica, is a newer drug now prescribed for nerve pain, epilepsy and fibromyalgia, and it has largely replaced gabapentin.[xii]

The usual dose for people over 12 years old who have epilepsy is 300mg three times a day. This can be increased to 1800mg a day. Doctors prescribe the drug to children with epilepsy based on their body weights.[xiii]

For post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), the dose is the same as for epilepsy. For adults with restless leg syndrome, the dose is 600mg taken at five o’clock in the evening.[xiv]

Dosages for people with kidney problems may be different than these.[xv]

If you break a gabapentin tablet in order to take just half, you need to use the rest of the pill as your next dosage or else discard it.[xvi]

One unusual aspect of gabapentin is that its bioavailability decreases with the dose.  For example, if you take 900mg, 60% is available to your body, but if you take 4800mg, that drops to only 27%.[xvii]

What are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?

The most common side effects of gabapentin are drowsiness, unsteadiness, sleepiness, loss of coordination, clumsiness, vision changes, and dry mouth.[xviii]  Some people report the following rare side effects:  edema, weight gain, swollen hands and feet, headaches, diarrhea, trouble thinking, abnormal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, fever, ataxia, diplopia, flu symptoms, shortness of breath, chest pain, mouth sores, chills, nausea, coughing, tremor, and other cold symptoms.

If you experience certain symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately because they can be a sign of a serious health condition. These can be black tarry stools, dark urine, tiredness, chest pain, suicidal mood, swollen glands, unusual bruising, rashes, or signs of an infection such as fever, cough and sore throat.[xix]

Children react to gabapentin differently than adults.  They may experience behavioral changes, moodiness, hyperactivity, overly emotional states, and restlessness.[xx]

What Drugs Interact with Gabapentin?

In general, you should not take gabapentin products with medicines that slow down the central nervous system and make you drowsy. These may be anti-histamines, narcotic painkillers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medications, and drugs for depression and seizures.[xxi] Gabapentin products will react with drugs used during surgeries, even dental procedures.[xxii] Do not take gabapentin products with morphine (Kadian, MS Contin), naproxen (Aleve) or hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin).[xxiii]

Drugs containing gabapentin will interact with ketorolac, aluminum carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, dihydroxyaluminum amino acetate, dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate, ginkgo, magaldrate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium trislicate, and morphine sulfate liposome. If you combine gabapentin with tobacco and alcohol and then take certain other drugs, you may cause an unpleasant or difficult reaction.[xxiv]

If you take any common antacids like Maalox and Di-Gel that contain aluminum or magnesium, you need to wait two hours before taking gabapentin.[xxv]

Which People Should not Take Gabapentin?

Gabapentin products have not been determined safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women or children, even though doctors sometimes prescribe it for children with epilepsy.  People with histories of depression, mood or mental disorders, and kidney diseases usually do not take gabapentin because it can make these conditions worse.[xxvi]  These drugs are used with caution for people with liver or heart diseases.[xxvii]

What Lawsuits Have Ensued Over Gabapentin?

At first the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Neurontin for only for epilepsy but by the year 2000, 78% of prescriptions that doctors wrote for Neurontin were for conditions other than seizure disorders. The new drug was widely prescribed “off label” for more than a dozen conditions, including fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraines, menopausal symptoms, bipolar disorder, and even attention deficit disorder in children.[xxviii] Between 2000 and 2004, Neurontin was generating $1 to $4 billion in sales a year for its manufacturers, which were first Warner-Lambert and later Pfizer drug companies.[xxix]

In 2002, Dr. David Franklin, an employee of Warner-Lambert, went to authorities to report that his company was promoting Neurontin for uses not approved by the FDA. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses, it is illegal for a drug company to advertise and promote them for unapproved uses. [xxx] Dr. Franklin testified that Warner-Lambert paid to doctors to present themselves as authors of studies written by non-doctors employed by the company. He said that the company also paid doctors to speak to other doctors about the off-label uses of Neurontin, and offered physicians expensive retreats and dinners at expensive restaurants to promote the drug.[xxxi]

As criminal and civil lawsuits were filed against the company, more negative information came out. Pfizer had apparently delayed or suppressed publication of studies that were negative or neutral about Neurontin, and exaggerated any positive claims. For example, three double-blind studies showed that Neurontin did not improve the symptoms of bipolar patients any better than sugar pills, but the company manipulated the studies and how symptoms were defined in evaluating the success of Neurontin. Of the 12 studies of the drug’s effect on migraine headaches, two negative ones went unpublished, and some of the positive studies involved only patients who had taken 2400mg or more of the drug.[xxxii] In other studies, patients could easily figure out that they were not in the placebo group, and ordinarily this would have meant that the study could not be published. Company spokespeople denied all the charges, but Pfizer ended up paying out $430 million in claims to states enrolled in the Medicaid program.[xxxiii] In 2011, Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court in Boston ordered Pfizer to pay Kaiser Health $142.1 million for duping the company into prescribing Neurontin for migraines and bipolar disorder.[xxxiv]

In 2004, gabapentin became available as a cheap generic drug,[xxxv] which drastically reduced its value as a money-maker for Pfizer. Pfizer introduced a similar but more potent drug called Lyrica, which was approved by the FDA in December 2004. Lyrica was approved for seizure disorders and pain from fibromyalgia, but it is now prescribed for many other conditions “off-label,” especially all kinds of chronic pain. Today Lyrica ranks 19th among all prescription drugs, and generates more than $3 billion a year for Pfizer.[xxxvi]

What are the Risks of Taking Gabapentin?

Gabapentin doubles the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but the risk is still low.  In one study of 27,863 patients on Neurontin and 16,029 on a placebo, 0.43% of the ones on the real drug became suicidal compared to 0.24% on the sugar pill.[xxxvii]

Gabapentin has some potential for abuse because it has psychoactive effects.   Once you have been on it for a while, you may experience a difficult withdrawal syndrome when you try to stop taking it.

Gabapentin causes drowsiness and incoordination, which means that you are at an increased risk for accidents, and probably should not drive when you take this medication.[xxxviii]

Gabapentin increases the risk for sudden death after seizures in patients who have epilepsy.  It can cause certain dangerous and sometimes even fatal reactions. Symptoms of this condition can be fever, rash, painful lymph glands in the neck and armpit, unusual bleeding, and yellow eyes and skin.[xxxix] Both of these reactions are extremely rare.

Gabapentin may slightly increase your risk for cancer.[xl]

Does Gabapentin Show up on Urine Tests?

Gabapentin has a half-life of about five to seven hours, which means it should completely clear the body within 38 hours. Standard urine tests do not test for it because it is not a controlled substance.

What is a Gabapentin Overdose?

Symptoms of a gabapentin overdose may be appearing drunk and disoriented, with slurred speech and double vision.[xli]  Such overdoses are very rare.

What is Gabapentin Withdrawal or Discontinuation Syndrome?

When gabapentin was first introduced, scientists believed that it could not cause a withdrawal syndrome.  Since that time, there have been many case studies of people who experienced such difficult symptoms when they tried to stop using the drug that many had to go back on it.  For example, one 81 year old woman with bipolar disorder took Neurontin for five years, and developed severe cold symptoms when she stopped. On the tenth day after stopping Neurontin in a gradual way, she had terrible chest pain, hypertension, and mental changes that were difficult to manage. She was back to normal within one day of taking the drug again.[xlii]

In another case study, a 53-year-old woman vomited a black substance like coffee grounds and developed abdominal pain and black stools after stopping gabapentin.  By days four and five, she developed restlessness, anxiety, agitation, disorientation, confusion, headaches, and extreme sensitivity to light.  When her doctor administered gabapentin again, she was calm and normal within a day.[xliii] Another such study found that a 41-year-old male developed insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, and excessive sweating after stopping Neurontin, but his symptoms went away when he went back on it.[xliv]

It has now been proven that gabapentin can build up in the body and cause a severe withdrawal syndrome similar to the ones for benzodiazepines and alcohol. The syndrome can last for weeks and even months, depending on the levels you took the drug and for how long you took it.  Symptoms are agitation, confusion, disorientation, sensitivity to light, headaches, heart palpitations, and hypertension, chest pain.  If you were taking gabapentin for epilepsy, your seizures will probably come back.  Some people develop seizures during withdrawal even if they never had one before.[xlv]

What is Gabapentin Addiction?

In theory, gabapentin should not be addictive because it has no affinity for the nerve receptors associated with addictions to marijuana, benzodiazepines or opiates.  It was marketed as non-addictive, but post-marketing studies showed that some people were abusing it.  In the early 2000s, the drug was being sold to thousands of people with sales were over a billion dollars a year.  Some of these patients were asking their doctors to increase their amounts (self-escalation) as they developed physical dependencies on Neurontin.  When they tried to quit, they entered a withdrawal syndrome that caused them to go back to the drug.  The new conclusion about gabapentin, as one expert put it, “The dependence and abuse potential for gabapentin has not been evaluated in human studies.”[xlvi]

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency does not list gabapentin as a drug of concern, even though it is being sold on the Internet illegally. Its street name is “morontin” because it makes you “dopey.”

What Treatments are Available for Gabapentin Addiction?

Because the withdrawal syndrome for this drug can produce unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms, you need to consult your doctor or an addiction specialist at a drug rehabilitation clinic about how you can safely stop taking the drug. The usual method is to wean a patient from the drug by gradually lowering the dosage, but this does not always prevent the withdrawal syndrome.[xlvii]  If you have tried unsuccessfully to quit taking gabapentin, you should seek professional help.

The state-of-the-art treatment for drug addiction is to enter a residential treatment center where your withdrawal can be done under medical supervision.  If you are addicted to other drugs or alcohol as well as gabapentin, your detoxification process will become even more complicated.

Once you have completed detoxification and your body is completely clear of drugs, you need to remain at the center for a few weeks or more so that you can undergo therapy to learn to live a drug-free life.  You will work one-on-one with a therapist who can help you with any psychological problems you may have that contribute to your drug abuse.  You may learn how to deal stress through non-pharmaceutical means such as running or other sports, yoga, meditation, journaling and so forth.  You may have classes in the chemistry of drugs and why they can get such a hold on people’s lives.  You will learn how to avoid relapsing into drug abuse or alcoholism, even if you have a genetic tendency or long family history of such problems.  Most drug rehab programs offer activities that are fun to do as well as ways of self-exploration, such as social gatherings, sightseeing, outdoor sports, and participating in art, drama and music. Once you return home, you usually remain in support meetings in your community and in individual and family counseling to help you stay on track.

How Can I Tell if I am Addicted to Gabapentin?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider talking to your family physician or an addiction specialist at a residential treatment center about your concerns with gabapentin.

Are you taking gabapentin without a doctor’s prescription? Do you ask your doctor to keep increasing your dose?Do you buy gabapentin from the Internet or other illegal sources? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking gabapentin? Have you tried to quit taking gabapentin on your own but failed? Do you consider yourself to be someone who abuses drugs or alcohol?Do you use gabapentin along with alcohol or other drugs as a way of treating emotional pain? Are you taking gabapentin even though you experience unpleasant side effects and even though you are unsure if it is effective for you? If money were no object, would you enter an intense program to help you deal with drug problems? Do your friends or family members criticize you because of your drug abuse? Do you feel guilty about how you use drugs? Are you trying to cut down on your use of gabapentin or other drugs?

[i]  Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[ii] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002; and Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[iii] “Pfizer Told to Pay $142.1 Million Over Marketing of Epilepsy Drug,” New York Times, January 28, 2011.

[iv] “U.S. Pharmaceutical Sales  2013,” The United States Food and Drug Administration, see http://www.drugs.com/stats/top100/2013/q1/sales

[v] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[vi] Hellwig, T., Hammerquist, R., & Termaat, J. (2010). Withdrawal symptoms after gabapentin discontinuation. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 67(11), 910-912.

[vii] See articles on FDA approvals and clinical trials of Gabapentin at Center Watch, http://www.centerwatch.com/

[viii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[ix] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[x] Mack, Alicia (Ph Pharm). Examination of the Off Label Uses of Gabapentin, The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy,  see http://www.amcp.org/data/jmcp/Contemporary%20Subject-559-568.pdf

[xi] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002; and Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xiii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xiv] Ibid, see also “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xvii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xviii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709. See also “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xix] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xx] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxi] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xxiii] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxiv] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxviii] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002.

[xxxi] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxxii] “Pfizer’s Headache,” Newsweek Magazine, October 7, 2008.

[xxxiii] Winstein, K. J.  “Suit alleges Pfizer spun unfavorable drug studies.” Wall Street Journal. October 8, 2008.

[xxxiv] “Pfizer Told to Pay $142.1 Million Over Marketing of Epilepsy Drug,” New York Times, January 28, 2011.

[xxxv] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxxvi] “U.S. Pharmaceutical Sales  2013,” The United States Food and Drug Administration, see http://www.drugs.com/stats/top100/2013/q1/sales

[xxxvii] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xxxviii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxxix]Ibid.

[xl] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xli] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xlii] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[xliii] Hellwig, T., Hammerquist, R., & Termaat, J. (2010). Withdrawal symptoms after gabapentin discontinuation. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 67(11), 910-912.

[xliv] Finch, C., Eason, J., & Usery, J. (2010). Gabapentin Withdrawal Syndrome in a Post–Liver Transplant Patient. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 24(3), 236-238.

[xlv] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

Original Article

Talking About The Confederate Battle Flag

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History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. A very close and dear personal friend of mine wanted me to share what you will read below in hopes to help clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies people choose to overlook. With so much news and media coverage of the Confederate Battle Flag recently, I made the choice to hold off posting it, but the time has come to post it today.

MYTH: The War of 1861 – 1865 was fought over slavery.

FACT: Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain and simple. When the South started Secession, Lincoln was asked, “Why not let the South go in peace?” To which he replied, “I can’t let them go. Who would pay for the government?” Sensing total financial ruin for the North, Lincoln waged war on the South. The South fought the War to repel Northern aggression and invasion.

MYTH: Only Southerners owned slaves.

FACT: Entirely untrue. Many Northern civilians owned slaves. Prior to, during and even after the War Of Northern Aggression.

Surprisingly, to many history impaired individuals, most Union Generals and staff had slaves to serve them! William T. Sherman had many slaves that served him until well after the war was over and did not free them until late in 1865.

U.S. Grant also had several slaves, who were only freed after the 13th amendment in December of 1865. When asked why he didn’t free his slaves earlier, Grant stated “Good help is so hard to come by these days.”

Contrarily, Confederate General Robert E. Lee freed his slaves (which he never purchased – they were inherited) in 1862!!! Lee freed his slaves several years before the war was over, and considerably earlier than his Northern counterparts. And during the fierce early days of the war when the South was obliterating the Yankee armies!

Lastly, and most importantly, why did NORTHERN States outlaw slavery only AFTER the war was over? The so-called “Emancipation Proclamation” of Lincoln only gave freedom to slaves in the SOUTH! NOT in the North! This pecksniffery even went so far as to find the state of Delaware rejecting the 13th Amendment in December of 1865 and did not ratify it (13th Amendment / free the slaves) until 1901!

MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag was flown on slave ships.

FACT: NONE of the flags of the Confederacy or Southern Nation ever flew over a slave ship. Nor did the South own or operate any slaves ships. The English, the Dutch and the Portuguese brought slaves to this country,not the Southern Nation.

BUT, even more monumental, it is also very important to know and understand that Federal, Yankee, Union ships brought slaves to America! These ships were from the New England states, and their hypocrisy is atrocious.

These Federals were ones that ended up crying the loudest about slavery. But without their ships, many of the slaves would have never arrived here. They made countless fortunes on the delivery of slaves as well as the products made from raw materials such as cotton and tobacco in the South.

This is the problem with Yankee history History is overwhelmingly portrayed incorrectly by most of the Federal & Yankee books and media.

MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag represented the Southern Nation.

FACT: Not true. While the Southern Battle flag was carried into battle, the Southern Nation had 3 different National flags during the course of the war.

The First National flag was changed due to a resemblance of the US flag.

The Second National flag was subsequently modified due to the similarity to a flag of truce.

The Third National flag was the adopted flag of the Confederacy.

The Confederate Battle Flag was never a National Flag of the Confederacy. It was carried into battle by several armies such as the Army Of Northen Virginia and the Army of Tennessee. Was also used as a Naval Jack by the Confederate Navy.

MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag is known as the “Stars & Bars”.

FACT: A common misconception. The First National Confederate Flag is correctly known as the “Stars & Bars”. The Confederate Battle Flag is known as the “Southern Cross”.

MYTH: The Confederate Battle Flag represents racism today.

FACT: The Confederate Battle Flag today finds itself in the center of much controversy and hoopla going on in several states. The cry to take this flag down is unjustified. It is very important to keep in mind that the Confederate Battle Flag was simply just that. A battle flag. It was never even a National flag, so how could it have flown over a slave nation or represented slavery or racism? This myth is continued by lack of education and ignorance. Those that villify the Confederate Battle Flag are very confused about history and have jumped upon a bandwagon with loose wheels.

MYTH: The United States Flag represented freedom.

FACT: No chance. The US flag flew over a slave nation for over 85 years! The North tolerated slavery and acknowledged it as a Division Of Labor. The North made a vast fortune on slavery and it’s commodities. It wasn’t until the South decided to leave the Union that the North objected. The North knew it could not survive without the Southern money. That is the true definition of hypocrisy.

MYTH: Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator.

FACT: While Lincoln has went down in history as the Great Emancipator, many would not care to hear his real thoughts on people of color. Martyred President Abraham Lincoln was fervently making plans to send all freed slaves to the jungles of Central America once the war was over. Knowing that African society would never allow the slaves to return back to Africa, Lincoln also did not want the slaves in the US. He thought the jungles of Central America would be the best solution and conducive to the freed slaves best interest. The only thing that kept this from happening, was his assassination.

MYTH: The South revered slavery.

FACT: A very interesting fact on slavery is that at the time the War of 1861 -1865 officially commenced, the Southern States were actually in the process of freeing all slaves in the South. Russia had freed it’s servants in 1859, and the South took great note of this. Had military intervention not been forced upon the South, a very different America would have been realized then as well as now.

MYTH: The Confederate Army was comprised of rich slave owners.

FACT: Very far from true. The vast majority of soldiers in the Confederate Army were simple men of meager income. Most of which were hard working farmers and common men. Then, as now, very few rich men ever fight a war.

MYTH: Only the North had men of color in their ranks.

FACT: Quite simply a major falsehood of history. Many blacks, both free and of their own will, joined the Confederate Army to fight for their beloved Southern home. Additionally, men of other ethnic extraction fought as well. Oriental, Mexican & Spanish men as well as Native American Indians fought with pride for the South.

Today, many men of color are members in the heritage group SCV – Sons Of Confederate Veterans. These men of color and pride rejoice in their heritage. The continued attacks on the Southern Nation, The Confederacy, and her symbols are a terrible outrage to these fine people. These attacks should be denounced with as much fervor as those who denounce the South.

MYTH: The Confederate Flags are an authorized symbol of Aryan, KKK and hate groups.

FACT: Quite the contrary. These despicable organizations such as the KKK and Aryans have taken a hallowed piece of history, and have plagued good Southern folks and the memories of fine Confederate Soldiers that fought under the flag with their perverse agenda. IN NO WAY does the Confederate Flag represent hate or violence. Heritage groups such as the SCV battle daily the damage done to a proud nation by these hate groups. The SCV denounces all hate groups, and pridefully boast HERITAGE – NOT HATE.

MYTH: The SCV – Sons Of Confederate Veterans are a racist, hate group.

FACT: This is a blatant attack on one of the finest heritage groups ever. The SCV – Sons Of Confederate Veterans are a historical, patriotic and non-political organization comprised of descendents of Confederate Soldiers and sailors dedicated to insuring that a true history of the 1861 -1865 period is preserved and presented to the public. The SCV continues to educate the public of the memory and reputation of the Confederate soldier as well as the motives for his suffering and sacrifice.

The SCV – Sons Of Confederate Veterans are in NO WAY affiliated with, nor does it recognize or condone the terrible legacy of hate groups such as the KKK.