If you're facing depression, you might want to think twice before you take meds-- and not just antidepressants.
Big Pharma rarely allows depressed patients to take part in clinical trials for any up-and-coming drug... despite the fact that up to 10 percent of all Americans battle depression at any given time.
And when you mix depression with a poorly tested drug, the results can be disastrous and even deadly.
Just look at Chantix: The notoriously bad antismoking drug was never tested on depressed people--even though studies have found that up to 40 percent of all depressed people smoke. (Click here to read more.)
You might think some of these people would try an antismoking drug at some point, right?
But depressed patients are also more likely to quit treatments, more likely to suffer side effects and--this is a biggie if you're hoping to sell an anti-smoking drug--more likely to start smoking again.
So researchers deliberately excluded depressed people from the clinical trials used to get the drug approved--and when it finally hit the market and depressed people started using it, all hell broke loose.
Finally, after repeated reports of bizarre behavior, violence, mood swings and even suicide, the FDA slapped a warning label on it--and Pfizer, the drug's maker, is now being sued by some 1,200 people who say they suffered from problems the company should have known about.
Of course, the drug companies haven't learned from that experience--studies still routinely exclude depressed patients, including the next wave of smoking cessation meds now being tested.
A recent report by Reuters Health found that of 38 current Phase III clinical trials for antismoking treatments, 21 exclude people who suffer from mental illness-- and 10 of them specifically list depression as a no-no.
It's enough to make you think there's no hope at all--but none of this means you should just keep smoking. In addition to all the risks you've heard about, from emphysema to lung cancer, smoking has been linked to everything from lower intelligence to a smaller penis.
So what's a smoker to do?
First, forget drugs.
Even if you're willing to put up with the side effects, they just don't work. Studies have found that up to 80 percent of all Chantix users are smoking again a year after trying it.
Second, consider acupuncture, hypnotherapy and St. John's wort--all of which have shown promise as safe anti-smoking treatments.
Third, remember that absolutely nothing will work unless you combine it with pure force of will.
And that means if you really want to quit, make the decision today--and stick to your guns... not your meds.