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Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Kids Soars
  1. #1
    Miles is offline Member
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    Default Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Kids Soars

    By THERESA AGOVINO, AP Business Writer
    Tuesday, May 2, 2006
    (05-02) 16:53 PDT New York (AP) --

    The number of children taking antipsychotic medicines soared 73 percent in the four years ending in 2005, far outpacing the increase in adults, according to a Medco Health Solutions Inc. report released Tuesday.

    Use of the new class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics by people 19 and younger skyrocketed 80 percent in the same time period, according to the pharmacy benefit manager.

    Antipsychotic drug prescriptions for that age group comprise a relatively small amount of the total for such medicines, Medco said. In 2005, 15 percent of prescriptions for such drugs were for children while 85 percent were for adults.

    Still, the sharp increase is noteworthy because the powerful drugs are for individuals with serious psychosis such as schizophrenia so there is some concern the medicines may not always be prescribed appropriately, said Dr. Amita Dasmanapatra, senior director of medical affairs at Medco. She said it is possible that some doctors are prescribing the drugs for children with behavioral problems, which would be better controlled by other means. Medco's analysis of over 2 million insured Americans didn't explore the reasons for the increase.

    Additionally, the atypical antipsychotics aren't approved for use in children although doctors are free to prescribe drugs as they see fit.

    The number of children on antipsychotics rose to 6.6 per 1,000 in 2005 from 3.81 per thousand in 2001. In contrast, 11 adults per 1,000 were taking one of the drugs. The increase in the number of adults taking antipsychotics rose 13 percent in the four years ended in 2005.

    However, the rate of prescription growth in children has been slowing although the analysis was not designed to determine the reason. For example, the rate of prescription growth in all antipsychotics was 3.38 percent last year, down from 14 percent in 2004 and 22 percent in 2003. Meanwhile, last year prescription growth for atypical antipsychotics was nearly 5 percent, down from nearly 13 percent in 2004 and 24 percent in 2003.

    In adults, the number of prescriptions fell 7 percent.

    Dr. David Kessler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt., speculated that the decrease in growth is tied to concern about atypical antipsychotics link to diabetes.

    In 2003, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked manufacturers of atypical antipsychotics to add warning labels describing the increased risk of high blood sugar and diabetes. The drugs include Eli Lilly & Co.'s Zyprexa, AstraZeneca PLC's Seroquel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Abilify and Pfizer Inc.'s Geodon.

    Also, last year the FDA determined that elderly patients with dementia that were being treated with atypical antipsychotics had an increased risk of death. The FDA asked manufacturers to include a warning on the drugs' label about the risk, and note that the drugs are not approved to treat behavioral problems in patients with dementia.

  2. #2
    MariaFS is offline New Member
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    My 13 year old daughter was given 'Abilify' to help control urges/impulses by her Dr. a behavior specialist. By the way my daughter has been his patient for about 3 years for ADHD.
    She was on the drug for about 10 days. The morning of the 11th day she had a twitching of her lip, she dismissed it as more of an annoyance. By 4:00 her neck was twisted in a painful and involuntary position, her mouth was crooked and wide open with her lips uncontrollably puckering and her tongue moving in and out in an uncontrollable manor. My daughter thought she was possessed. She was scared to death because her body was not responding to what her brain was telling it. She was unable to stop any of the gestures but was well aware that she was doing them.
    We took her to the nearest emergency facility with the bottles of the new meds she started taking less than 2 weeks prior. The Dr. immediately gave her a shot of vistral which calmed her body almost as benadryl would. The Dr. said it would help her to relax and make her sleepy. He advised us to not give my daughter the 'Abilify' until we told her Dr. the behavior specialist of this incident.
    Once we reached him, the Dr. seemed to be concerned, but more so that she might have taken another kind of product that may in combination have given her this bad reaction. We explained to him, she was so scared with her body acting out in a tourettes sort of fashion that she would have divulged any and all to us. She just wanted her body to stop the repetitive gestures. Her face was completely distorted. Unlike anything we've seen before. She had NO CONTROL of her facial expressions. Her mouth was open and she couldn't shut it. She had drool coming from her mouth because she couldn't swallow properly. We explained that the emergency room Dr. was able to move her neck and head around and he also was able to close her mouth without causing her any pain. It was that she herself could not close her own mouth and she herself could not shift her neck and head because it continued to pull to the 1 side. Her specialist continued to ask if she could've possibly taken allergy medications. We again said she didn't take anything and that as a matter of fact she had missed her dose of the 'Abilify' the night before. We told him that after the emergency room Dr. advised us not to give her the 'Abilify' again, until the specialist was notified we grew concerned and started doing some research on this 'Abilify'. It's all there every symptom my daughter had is there listed in the side effects. There's even a name for her symptoms it's 'Tardive dyskinesia'.
    It also mentions that studies have NOT been done on children under the age of 18. It sickens me that the risk factor was right under my nose and yet I trusted a Dr. instead of checking into this medication for myself.
    This specialist isn't hearing what we are saying. We're telling him my daughter had a very bad reaction to this medication,...a reaction that on the Abilify site states could possibly be permanent. We are so thankful that it's been almost 24 hours and she hasn't had a facial twitch or spasm.
    We need for this story to be told so other parents know what they're up against when it comes to the risks of this medication.
    There needs to be more of a warning put out there for parents of innocent children. We believe that the Dr. always know what's best for our children, due mostly to the fact that they're the ones with the education, they hold the certificates, the credentials and the licenses. Yet, these are our baby's, children that we love and care for every single day of our life, every single day of their life.
    We need to check, then double check and research some more before we allow our children to be placed on some new medication that has risks that out weigh their need.
    This pill made my daughter lose control of her body parts the only way to describe it is that it gave my daughter a temporary form of tourettes. There was no connection between what my daughter wanted her body to do and what her body was doing. It's like the transmitter
    was missing.
    Please tell this story 1000 times over,...if we can educate people then maybe we can save/help just 1 mommy or daddy from choosing this drug when the risks out weigh the need.

  3. #3
    bn7
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    Antipsychotics Killed at least 45 Children_FDA Not Concerned --USA
    Wednesday, 03 May 2006

    "I trusted the doctors, I trusted the FDA ... and I feel betrayed by both," says Erin Evans, the mother of Rex who was prescribed the 'atypical' antipsychotic, Risperdal (risperidone) at age 8.

    The drug damaged his brain--he now has to live with tardive dyskinesia (TD), an irreversible, severely disfiguring, neurological condition which is a risk linked to ALL antipsychotics. The manufacturer, Janssen, says, “Nobody knows how many children on atypicals get TD, but it's rare in adults.”

    An investigative report in USA Today (below) documents the awful truth about antipsychotic drug-induced harm being perpetrated on America’s children--while FDA officials pretend nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

    Marilyn Elis of USA TODAY reviewed FDA's Medwatch adverse event report database (from 2000 to 2004) and found "at least 45 deaths of children in which an atypical anti-psychotic was listed as the "primary suspect." One-fourth of the cases in the database did not list the patient's age. In addition, there were 1,328 reports of bad side effects, some of them life-threatening.

    The Medwatch database represents only 1% to 10% of drug-induced side effects and deaths. Expert clinical pharmacologist Alastair J.J. Wood (Vandebilt University) suggests it represents, "maybe even less than 1%."

    When confronted with children’s death toll, Thomas Laughren, director of FDA's division of psychiatry products, is quoted stating: "we haven't been alerted to any particular or unusual concern. The effects (in kids) are similar to what we're seeing in adults. We have not systematically looked at the data for children" because the drugs aren't approved for them."

    Among the life-threatening adverse events reported to Medwatch: 41 children nearly died of a drug-induced toxic reaction--neuroleptic malignant syndrome NMS). Child psychiatrist Joseph Penn of Bradley Hospital and Brown University School of Medicine, said NMS was the most troubling effect listed." It is life-threatening and can kill within 24 hours of diagnosis. It's been linked to drugs that act on the brain's dopamine receptors, which would include the atypicals."

    Antipsychotic drugs are the most toxic of all psychotropic drugs--they are approved for adults disabled by schizophrenia and for short-term use in patients with manic-depression (bipolar). Yet, a Vanderbilt study found that more than 2.5 million children--some as young as 18 months--are being prescribed these toxic drugs without parents ever being told about the harm these drugs might cause--

    Dr. Robert Findling, a child psychiatrist at University Hospitals of Cleveland, states: “These anti-psychotics are the most widely used class of drugs to treat disruptive kids who attack others and defy adults. Again, there's a paucity of proof that the drugs help.”

    Whereas other studies of psychotropic drug prescribing for children reviewed Medicaid records, USA TODAY contracted Medco to do an analysis of outpatient prescriptions for children who are privately insured. In a sampling of about 2.5 million of Medco's 55 million members, they found the rate of children 19 and under with at least one atypical prescription jumped 80% from 2001 to 2005 — from 3.6 per 1,000 to 6.5 per 1,000.

    USA Today investigated the dark side of current practice by mental health professionals--some call it criminal malpractice and child abuse. They bring to public attention how children are being victimized by irresponsible doctors whose aggressive prescribing of antipsychotic drugs for children has run amok—the consequences are borne by children, some of who are brain damaged, disabled, or dead. This is the story The New York Times wouldn’t touch!

    More than half of the kids who died were on at least one other psychiatric drug besides the atypical anti-psychotic, and many were taking drugs for other ailments. The youngest, a 4-year-old boy whose symptoms suggested diabetes complications, was taking 10 other drugs."

    "Some parents tell stories of serious effects that linger long after their kids stop taking the drugs. Rex Evans' parents are bitter about what happened to their son. They believe the 13-year-old Colorado Springs boy was harmed permanently by an atypical anti-psychotic he took several years ago. Rex now has a serious case of tardive dyskinesia (TD), suffering daily episodes of involuntary jerking movements and facial grimacing, says Erin Evans, his mother.""An 8-year-old boy had cardiac arrest. A 15-year-old boy died of an overdose. A 13-year-old girl experienced diabetic ketoacidosis, a deficiency of insulin.

    The story of Evan Kitchens who had problems from birth, having suffered from lack of oxygen during a difficult delivery, is an indictment of psychiatry and its obsession with drugs. Beginning at 18 months, Evan was prescribed one after another psychotropic drug which exacerbated whatever troubling behavior he exhibited--his "diagnoses" shifting with the drugs and drug cocktails. The child was prescribed his first of several antipsychotic drugs at age 3 1/2. Until he was finally taken off drugs he says he was in a fog. His mother wishes she had gone the non-drug route earlier. "I didn't even know what was available ... I totally relied on the doctors."

    Erin Evans is one parent who wishes she had never heard of anti-psychotics. Her son, Rex, was prescribed Risperdal at age 8: "After one month on Risperdal, Rex started having tremors; within a few months, his hands shook so severely that he could barely write at school, "and I'd have to guide the cup of milk to his mouth in the morning," Evans says. But the psychiatrist said the tremors weren't so bad, Evans says, and urged the family to continue the drug. The psychiatrist didn't pressure them, she says, "but I'm from the generation where, when a doctor says something, you believe it."

    "The parents started to learn more about Risperdal and, for the first time, they realized that Rex's symptoms could be side effects, so they started to wean him off the drug. In a few weeks they noticed his jaw was scrunching up and his facial expressions were becoming distorted. By then, Evans says, she had read up on tardive dyskinesia (TD), a neurological disorder that can be caused by anti-psychotics. Rex became less anxious, but the TD worsened. "He had a horrible, ugly look on his face all the time," Evans says. Friends no longer came to play. Rex went from winning an award for best reader in the third grade to claiming he couldn't remember how to spell his own name in fourth grade."

    When confronted with the evidence, some of psychiatry's leading child psychiatrists, for the first time, disavowed current prescribing practices, including the loose labeling of children as "bipolar:"

    Dr. John March (Duke University) acknowledges, "We have no evidence about the safety of these agents or their effectiveness in controlling aggression," he says. "Why are we doing this?"

    Cynthia Kuhn, a Duke University pharmacologist is aghast as well: "The brain system that the drugs work on develops through childhood and adolescence. We really don't know the impact of chronically perturbing that system in childhood."

    Dr. Peter Jensen, head of Columbia University's center for advancing childrent's mental health, expressed concern about over-diagnosis and "jumping to this (bipolar) label too quickly."

    Dr. Barbara Geller, one of the major proponents of diagnosing children as bipolar, who served on the influential psychotropic drug prescribing guideline pane that helped encourage the prescribing of antipsychotics for children (TMAP), made an astounding statement, acknowledging the absence of science in psychiatry: "The science is nowhere near where it is in other branches of medicine."

    Yet, (as is documented in today's companion Infomail) academic psychiatrists whose financial ties to drug manufacturers has been the subject of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic, are conducting experiments whose risk/ benefit ratio for the child subjects is disadvantageous. The only plausible purpose for conducting such experiments is commercial: to legitimize illegitimate, off-label prescribing of toxic drugs for children—as described in the USA Today report. These commercially driven experiments are designed to demonstrate short-term efficacy which would justify wide prescribing.

    The evidence presented in this series is an indictment of current prescribing practice which is rooted in: the absence of science, the absence of reliable diagnostic tools, often resulting in misdiagnosis, parents’ ignorance and doctors denial / concealment of these drugs’ harmful effects—both short-term and irreversible. Finally, the unprecedented prescribing of such toxic drugs mostly to control behavior, not illness.

    However, USA Today’s choice of organizations to which families seeking information are sent, undermines the message. Readers are referred to websites of organizations that are the very promoters of psychotropic drug treatment and the pathologizing of children. They promoted psychotropic drugs claiming they were “safe and effective” –even as black box warnings were added to the labels. These organizations have financial a stake in the psychotropic drug industry which supports them. Either the editor didn’t understand the reason children are suffering and dying from drugs they should not be exposed to, or he is sabotaging this powerful investigative news report.

    These are the very groups that have contributed to the problems described in the series.
    The Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (bpkids), the NIMH, First Signs…
    See list of Pharma supporters: http://www.bpkids.org/site/PageServe...ational_donors

    For credible information about the drugs, the science, the profitability of these drugs—and for other credible sources of information, visit the AHRP website.

    http://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/view/158/31/

  4. #4
    Miles is offline Member
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    MariaFS:

    Your daughter's story is indeed a tragic one. I hope things have turned out well for her and that the tics have gone!

    Isn't it unconscionable of some docs to be ignorant of the side effects of meds they prescribe? And then to doubt the validity of your daughter's unfortunate episode? You are wise to do your research before taking that Rx pad to the pharmacy, especially when it comes to psychiatric meds for kids.

    Best of luck!

    Miles

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    DSLDAW is offline Member
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    That's a shame.I was suprised to hear at rehab a few years ago, that
    physce drugs were more dangerous than street drugs.Your stories indi-
    cate just that.They fry your brain and damage your body just like that.Please stay away from "All Anti-Depressants".Even if your Dr.
    says to try another medication.They don't care what happens to you
    or your kids.They just prescribe as many of them as they can for
    the kickbacks from them.They are over 360 reasons why a doctor will
    prescribe those dangerous meds to you for no logical reason.Every
    day a new abbreviation is made for an excuse to prescribe dangerous
    drugs for no apparent reason other than making doctors and pharm
    companies rich.

  6. #6
    zippysgoddess is offline Platinum Member
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    I do know there are issues for your side of the argument and the dangers when these drugs are overused and prescribed wrongly for someone who doesn't really need them.

    But there are also issues that promote the other side of the story and the proper use of them. I, for one, would not have a husband anymore, if it weren't for these drugs, with his chronic depression, he would have killed himself a long time ago. So frankly, rather than be a widow, I don't care if he has to take them for the rest of his life. I can honestly say my son and I would rather pick up his prescription every month than attend his funeral.



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    bn7
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    Clinical trials have shown that anti-depressants are no more effective at treating depression than sugar pills. For many, just consulting a so-called medical professional for help in dealing with depression is enough to boot in the placebo effect. Many people blindly believe psychopharmacology industry advertising and propaganda to the point where psychiatry becomes faith based belief system much like religion.

    For others, the faith in psychophramacolgy is not present. The placebo effect does not work and the active mind altering ingredient of the psychotropic drug has a detrimental effect on the patient’s which manifest as increases in suicidal ideation and acts of violence.

    Anyone who claims these drugs are effective in treating depression is practicing self-deceit. There is just no scientific evidence to back up the claims from the psychopharmacology industry that these drugs work. They sure do generate billions of dollars though for the people behind this profit driven propaganda machine.

    If you’re a 'believer' in psychiatry, you will probably get some positive results from taking meds, but this is the placebo effect at work.

    If your a 'non believer' or impartial to psychopharmacology propaganda and you take these drugs.......good friggin luck! Who knows what will happen and who will get hurt???

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    zippysgoddess is offline Platinum Member
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    So how do you explain that they helped him, for over a year before he ever saw a Psych doc?

    I know for me, there is also a big difference in my depression if I take my Zoloft or not, and people around me notice it also. My doc switched me for awhile to a different med, and it didn't work at all, I sunk into awful depression, which improved within a few days of taking my Zoloft again.

    You can rant and rail all you want and say they aren't proven to help, but they are, in many studies.



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  9. #9
    bn7
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    Your husband has probably succumbed to the social/political control mechanism and cultural myth that despondency can be blamed on the individuals biology. He has probably developed a belief system based on behavior having a medical cause and therefore the placebo effect works for him?

    Clinical studies of SSRI's VS Placebo demonstrated that only a negligible amount of patients with depression improved with the use of SSRI's as opposed to the group that took a placebo. That is to say the same amount of patients that took an inert substance (sugar pill) reported a marked improvement in their depression too.

    SSRI's can cause the *Nocebo* effect which is a worsening of symptoms such as increase in suicide and violence and mania. However, as opposed to sugar pills, SSRI's do cause a myriad of nasty physical side effects.

    To date there is no scientific evidence that behavior has a medical cause! Taking a substance in the belief it will correct a chemical imbalance is illogical. There is no lab test to identify any etiology for depression or any other behavior. The most likely cause for depression is social/cultural/political and not the individuals biology.

    Social change is what we require, not harmful ineffective drugs designed to exploit and turn a profit from social despondency, deviance and difference.

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    zippysgoddess is offline Platinum Member
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    You know, I just WISH you were right on all of this, and there were other options that worked rather than take meds everyday. However, and I know you and I will always disagree on this, they do help some people, and there have been studies that show their effectiveness for some people.



    My information is not guaranteed correct. I do not get them right all the time, but I do enjoy the hunt~

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