Monthly Archives: March 2003

Risks from mental illness drug not adequately noted, some say; Studies link Zyprexa to diabetes deaths

The Baltimore Sun

By Timothy B. Wheeler

Rob Liversidge had reason to hope he was on the long road back from the severe mental illness that had derailed his life.

Aided by a powerful anti-psychotic medication, the 39-year-old Silver Spring man planned to resume the government career that his bipolar disorder had interrupted.

But in October, a week before he was to start a new job, Liversidge collapsed and was rushed to a local hospital. Despite doctors’ efforts, he went into a coma and died four days later.

“It was like he never had a chance,” says his mother, Ellen Liversidge. Her grief about her son’s mysterious death turned to anger, however, when she learned that at least 23 other people had died, and hundreds more suffered potentially life-threatening illness, while taking the same medication.

Zyprexa, widely prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, has been linked in multiple studies in this country and abroad with diabetes and severe hyperglycemia, a related failure of the body’s ability to process sugar. It can quickly lead to coma and death if not discovered and treated soon enough…

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