Saturday news and blogs

Have a nice weekend:

  • The Fake Patient (fPatient) & Patient Engagement on Drug Companies’ Sites | Reality check | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior — Wouldn’t it be a dream-come-true for a company to have its own website and speak directly to patients on their own turf – I mean terms? In the last few months, there have been two different ways in which their dream has come true. The first is by creating something some are calling the “fPatient.” The F is for “fake.” — If this is the first you’ve heard about the f-patient, you may want to have a look at the Facebook profile of Sara Baker – I mean eSara. Sara is not a real person, but a persona that has been created by a company called Medseek for the purpose of engaging real patients everyone else. On a Facebook Fan page that looks a lot like mine, Sara talks about her twins and shows pictures of her honeymoon. But there is no real Sara. We have no idea who actually posts on that page. I guess it was just a matter of time. And I’ve heard they secretly infiltrate patient networks online too.
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  • Long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs continues in B.C. despite known health risks:UBC study — Drugs to treat anxiety and sleep disorders are still being prescribed for extended periods to British Columbian patients – and increasingly so for baby boomers – despite warnings against long-term use, according to a University of British Columbia study. — Published online in the journal Health Policy, the study by researchers at UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) is the first of its kind to examine the use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan for an entire population over time. It’s also the first to pinpoint the socio-economic characteristics associated with long-term users of such drugs. For more info on benzodiazepines and their risks see here.

  • Glaxo Is Testing Paxil on 7-Year-Olds Despite Well Known Suicide Risks | BNET Pharma Blog | BNET —  It was established years ago that Paxil carries a risk of suicide in children and teens, but GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has for the last 18 months been conducting a study of the antidepressant in kids as young as seven — in Japan. It’s not clear why the company would want to draw more attention to its already controversial pill, but it appears as if GSK might be hoping to see a reduced suicide risk in a small population of users — a result the company could use to cast doubt on the Paxil-equals-teen-suicide meme that dominates discussion of the drug.

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