St. Petersburg Times, Letters to the Editor

August 4th, 2007 | News Archive

I am the mother of a 16-year-old autistic son. First, autism is not a mental illness. There are physical situations that precede the condition. The best definition I ever heard came from Bob Doman, the founder of the National Association for Child Development, when he told me he referred to autism as “brain toxicity.”

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Skyrocketing Numbers of Kids Are Prescribed Powerful Antipsychotic Drugs. Is It Safe? Nobody Knows.

July 29th, 2007 | News Archive

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.

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The New Face Of Antidepressants?

April 18th, 2007 | News Archive

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.

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Grassley Seeks Marketing and Safety Documents From Major Drug Maker

February 14th, 2007 | News Archive

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.

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Showdown Looms in Congress Over Drug Advertising on TV

January 22nd, 2007 | News Archive

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.

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Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Forced Psychiatric Drugging Procedures

July 1st, 2006 | News Archive

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.”

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Study: ADHD Drugs Send Thousands to ERs

May 25th, 2006 | News Archive

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.

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Tots Used as Human Guinea Pigs?

May 17th, 2006 | News Archive

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.

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ADHD Children 'Suffer Strokes'

March 27th, 2006 | News Archive

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.

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Warning Urged on Stimulants Like Ritalin

February 10th, 2006 | News Archive

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.

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