Friday, January 23, 2009

Where did depressed, unpredictable dog bite Jacques Chirac?

Another story about an animal (this time a dog) being treated for depression. This time the problem is unpredictable depression that caused the dog to bite Jacques Chirac, the ex-French president. As I said in the last post, the only licensed indication is for use in separation anxiety associated with behavioural training. It's not clear that the Chirac's dog has separation anxiety - he's living with them, not separated from them, as far as I know. Nor is there any mention of any other loss in the story. No-one seems to have asked why the dog bit Jacques. Nor does anyone seem very interested in where it bit him. The incident does seem serious though as the story describes it as a mauling and the ex-President was rushed to hospital. Should the depression be allowed to excuse the dog's behaviour?

Dogs are being given pills without the evidence. The story doesn't say what antidepressant Chirac's dog has been given. Presumably it's Clomicalm. This blog is prepared to start a campaign for animals being treated with antidepressants. Maybe it will be listened to more than one about humans.

Maybe as a first step someone needs to ask Novartis, the manufacturers of Clomicalm, how much they are making out of the drug. Help please. Join the campaign.

(With thanks again to Cornishcynders. Where do the stories come from?)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Number of tropical birds that require antidepressants is growing

Telegraph story - Parrot is taking Prozac for depression following the death of its owner. Actually it's not Prozac (fluoxetine), probably the most well-known of the newer antidepressants - well, newer in the sense it first went on the UK market in 1989 - but Clomicalm (clomipramine), a traditional tricyclic antidepressant. Most prescribing of psychotropic medication in veterinary medicine is outside licensed indications. According to a recent veterinary psychopharmacology textbook the only label uses in the US for the treatment of behaviour problems are Clomicalm for separation anxiety in dogs and deprenyl for cognitive dysfunction in elderly dogs. So Clomicalm for parrots is unlicensed.

The company product information says Clomicalm was tested in clinical trials involving client-owned dogs. When used in conjunction with behavioural training, Clomicalm accelerated both the time to improvement and the final result of separation anxiety therapy compared to behavioural training alone. So behaviour training is a necessary component of therapy with Clomicalm. Perhaps it doesn't work on its own. The Telegraph story doesn't say whether it worked for the parrot.

(With thanks to Cornishcynders)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inmates on suicide watch in prison need not be completely naked

Guess who's registered the internet domain It's Ferguson Safety Products. Aren't the models sterotypes? I guess the company must make money. Perhaps NICE should consider assessing the evidence for inclusion in its guideline.

(With thanks to Lou Pembroke)