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antipsychotics-who’s to blame? November 26, 2006

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma,mental illness — clementine @ 8:12 pm
Tags: , ,

three days ago the new york times published a great article titled, proof is scant on psychiatric drug mix for young.

here, i will focus on the antipsychotics simply because, today, it’s the drug doctors love to prescribe. antipsychotics sales have skyrocketed and they are not approved for children.

as we all know, the FDA. requires drug makers to prove that their drugs work safely before they will approve them for sale in the united states. unfortunately doctors can prescribe and combine approved medicines as they see fit. and from there, the parents believe their doctors. they fill the multiple prescriptions for their children and remind them to take their pills everyday. in most cases, i’m sure they demand so. in most cases today, an antipsychotic is in the mix. i wonder, do the parents know that the mixing of these drugs is rarely studied by drug makers? do they know the dangers of these drugs? and if they don’t know, why?

“no one has been able to show that the benefits of these combinations outweigh the risks in children,” said dr. daniel j. safer, an associate professor of psychiatry at johns hopkins university and an author of the 2003 review.

several top experts say, if the evidence for two-drug combinations is minimal, for three-drug combinations it is nonexistent. some experts agree that some children are so violent or suicidal that a combination of psychiatric drugs is worth trying. but recently, more psychiatrists have been asking whether in some cases drugs are being prescribed for children who do not need them, or for problems that fall within the spectrum of normal behavior. the doubters are especially concerned with the growing use of drug combinations for preschoolers.

in case you don’t click on the link to the new york times article, here’s one story of many:

andrew darr of caldwell, idaho, whose sons took medications, said that he was opposed to it from the start. “when you come home from work and instead of getting them clawing at your feet and yelling, ‘daddy, daddy,’ you get a lethargic grunt, it just kills you,” mr. darr said. his wife, leslie darr, eventually agreed to stop the medicines, but only after a family tragedy.

the darrs have four children, Nicholas, 16, Nathan, 15, Becky, 12, and Benjamin, 9. at 3, nicholas suffered a mild brain injury when undiagnosed appendicitis led him to suffer weeks of high fever, mrs. darr said. she was pressured by school officials to give nicholas a stimulant at age 6. nathan soon followed.

three years later, the boys had a traumatic weekend away with relatives. a month after that, mrs. darr said, both were hospitalized for a week and given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and prescriptions for antipsychotic, antidepressant and sleeping medicines.

over the next three years, nicholas’s weight ballooned to 140 pounds from 52. nathan went to 115 pounds from 48. neither boy got much taller, mrs. darr said. they did poorly in school.

then becky developed a brain tumor. a nurse practitioner gave mrs. darr free samples of an antipsychotic drug to help her cope. after starting it, she said, she could not sleep or think straight. she realized that she had been giving similar medicines to her sons for years and she decided to wean the boys off the pills. their behavior immediately worsened. at one point, nicholas left the house during a blizzard wearing only boxer shorts, mrs. darr said. they found him in a tire swing saying, “Baaa.”

“there were several times that we almost gave up,” mr. darr said.

but after four months off medication, the boys’ behavior normalized, the darrs said, and they were transferred out of special education and into regular classes. the darrs recently allowed the boys to spend their first evening at a mall without supervision, and in july they gave both boys their first bicycles. “they’ve come a long way,” mrs. darr said.

in an interview, nicholas said the drugs “were not cool.”

however, most of the parents interviewed for the article said their children’s behavior deteriorated rapidly without medication.

i found a website called, wrong drugs 4 kids. click on the breaking news link at their website, they’ve compiled a long list of articles on just how bad antipsychotics can be. if your child, grandchild or loved one is under 18 and developed diabetes or other blood sugar disorders after taking zyprexa, seroquel or risperdal, they want you to know you have important legal rights.

one must ask. who’s to blame? it’s time we blame someone or several. we can’t sit back any longer. the fda approves the antipyschotics. the doctors prescribe them. and the parents fill the prescriptions. and our children are the guinea pigs.

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