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Miltown: A game-changing drug (2017) (cbc.ca)
36 points by Hooke 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

"In April 1965, meprobamate was removed from the list of tranquilizers when experts ruled that the drug was a sedative, instead. The U.S. Pharmacopoeia published the ruling. At the same time, the Medical Letter disclosed that meprobamate could be addictive at doses not much above recommended. In December 1967, meprobamate was placed under abuse control amendments to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Records on production and distribution were required to be kept. Limits were placed on prescription duration and refills." [1]

I feel like the linked article mostly involve a standard and rather disingenuous way of deflecting worry about psychiatric drugs such as this.

The first point is describing the worry about psychiatric drugs in terms of their marketing - that the use of these drugs comes from marketing rather than legitimate need. Then the article goes on to describe a drug that became successful without marketing, which might, maybe, seem to deflect this criticism.

I would say that the basic criticism of psychiatric drug isn't necessarily simply that their use is spread by marketing but that portion of their use happens in the fashion of illegal drugs - they're addictively mood enhancing. Of course, aggressive sales would leverage this situation. But if you muddy the waters in your initial discussion of the supposed problem, you avoid having to deal with this particular combination of problems.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meprobamate

Having taken a couple of psychiatric drugs over a long period (antidepressents - ADs), I',m not sure where your claim that "they're addictively mood enhancing" comes from. IME ADs aren't. My brother has needed to take many more (edit: diverse kinds, not just ADs). I don't think he found them addictive (or even useful).

Why do you feel they are?

Why is the idea to "just pop a pill" on a daily basis not wrong? It is. It totally is. You should not need to drug yourself to get through the day.

Like caffeine or nicotine? And why not? Better living through chemistry, what’s wrong with that?

Also everything is a drug. Food, water, whatever.

It becomes a way to endure difficulties which should not be there in the first place.

True, but "should not be there in the first place" is a moral judgement - no-one should have to deal eg. with clinical depression or intense anxiety, or psychosis. Or painful arthritis or the rest of the evils a biological entity is prone to. But reality cares not for your or my opinion.

We create our own reality. In the EU we subsidize diary production so that powdered milk is cheap and artifically kept at a stable price, which makes food manufacturers use it as an addative in many traditional recipies which it doesn't belong in. It makes a lot of people sick, inflaming the gut, which leads to depression.

> We create our own reality

Try living with long-term chronic pain, disability and flaky mental health. Then tell me it's all in the mind.

I mean if a monk can light himself on fire and not make a noise or move at all, then anything must be possible, right? People have the ability to will themselves into almost any state, it’s just incredibly difficult. There’s been a number of studies on the effect of meditation on chronic pain, and it’s certainly more powerful (and healthy) than painkillers.

Should not be there? Life is hard, has always been hard, and always will be hard. Evolution doesn’t care about you, and minimizing suffering is not what’s important or drives selection.

As a species we have evolved to deal with this issue differently. It is the basis of our success.

Sure, but how can you say suffering should not exist? Like it’s some violation of the natural laws of the universe? Suffering is what’s natural, the fact we can kinda sorta sometimes avoid it is the anomaly.

That extrapolation is far removed from what I said. Why do you reach for an extreme like that instead of assuming I'm trying to say something reasonable?

It is wrong but this is big pharma we're talking about. I find it very hard to trust their "suggestions" and subtleties. That's how you go into these drugs, with someone telling you it is ok to take a pill when the day does not go according to plan.

Oh god yes. But you can't trust any organisation in general that's grown large and is profit-oriented.

This isn't quite in line, as it's about the 1960s when they were going mad with new drugs, IIRC a sleeping pill was sold that had a barbiturate shell that knocked you out. This was designed to take ~8 hours to dissolve away, and at the core was a lump of amphetamine to bounce you back to eager wakefulness.

Granted people were a bit naive back then but it must have been obvious such things were not intrinsically safe, but dammit we have sales targets!

I worked in the area and I remember being told a story about a drug being approved for use based on the word of the top exec of the drug's manufacturer that it was safe, and a handshake. That's all. This would be in the late 70's. Things have been very much tightened up since then, but still.

What is a pill? Some substance that has a biochemical effect on your brain. Like sugars.

Try keto/low carb diet for a few weeks and see what it does to your brain/mood/alertness.

Every time you eat some bread you literally pop a pill. ;)

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