The ‘atypical’ dilemma
By Robert Farley, Times Staff Writer
More and more, parents at wit’s end are begging doctors to help them calm their aggressive children or control their kids with ADHD. More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs.
In the past seven years, the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs has increased some 250 percent. Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.
By Ed Silverman
For the past three years, the controversy over antidepressants has largely centered on exploring links between the pills and suicidal behavior, particularly in youngsters. But there has also been considerable chatter about homicidal thoughts.
Several killings around the country have prompted defense lawyers to blame an antidepressant for a killing. Most famously, this occurred in South Carolina, where 12-year-old Chris Pittman claimed Pfizer’s Zoloft prompted him to kill his grandparents. And one of the Columbine killers was prescribed Luvox.
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the drug maker, Eli Lilly and Company, for information related to the risks and marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
Grassley made this request in response to allegations that the company downplayed safety risks and engaged in other improper marketing practices that may be jeopardizing patients’ health. The text of Grassley’s letter follows here.
By Milt Freudenheim, The New York Times.
Drug advertising aimed at consumers, a fast-growing category that reached $4.5 billion last year, will face hard scrutiny in the new Congress, according to industry critics in both the House and Senate.
The consumer ads will be on the griddle early in this session at hearings on the user fees that manufacturers pay to speed the reviewing of new drugs by the Food and Drug Administration. The user fee law will die in the fall unless Congress acts to renew it.
In a resounding affirmation of personal liberty and freedom, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Myers v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute today. The court found Alaska’s forced psychiatric drugging regime to be unconstitutional when the state forces someone to take psychiatric medications without proving it to be in their best interests or when there are less restrictive alternatives.
Faith Myers, the appellant in the case, reacted to the decision saying, “It makes all of my suffering worthwhile.”
By LINDA A. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Accidental overdoses and side effects from attention deficit drugs likely send thousands of children and adults to emergency rooms, according to the first national estimates of the problem.
Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated problems with the stimulant drugs drive nearly 3,100 people to ERs each year. Nearly two-thirds — overdoses and accidental use — could be prevented by parents locking the pills away, the researchers say.
Joseph Rhee Reports:
ABC News has learned that a Massachusetts hospital is currently recruiting pre-schoolers to test the safety and effectiveness of a powerful antipsychotic drug called Quetiapine. (SEROQUEL AstraZeneca – Vince)
The study, conducted by the Department of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is testing subjects from four to six years of age with Bipolar Disorder. An earlier Massachusetts General study of the antipsychotic drugs Risperidone and Olanzapine recruited children as young as three years old.
CHILDREN as young as five have suffered strokes, heart attacks and hallucinations after taking drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Almost 400 serious adverse reactions to the two most used ADHD drugs, Ritalin and Dexamphetamine, had been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), The Australian reported today.
Almost 60 of the adverse reaction reports dating back to 1980, obtained under freedom of information laws, involved children under the age of 10, the newspaper said.
By Gardiner Harris
GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 9 — Stimulants like Ritalin could have dangerous effects on the heart, and federal regulators should require manufacturers to provide written guides to patients and place prominent warnings on drug labels describing these risks, a federal advisory panel voted on Thursday.
The panel’s recommendation promises to intensify a long-running debate about whether the medicines are overused. Nearly four million patients take the drugs to treat attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, and committee members said they wanted to slow explosive growth in the drugs’ use.
(Reuters) WASHINGTON – Deaths of 51 U.S. patients who took widely prescribed drugs to treat attention deficit disorder prompted regulators to start watching for heart attacks, high blood pressure and other problems in 2004, a report released on Wednesday said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff did not say the drugs were responsible for the fatalities, but they urged close monitoring for “the rare occurrence of pediatric sudden death during stimulant therapy.”