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

  1. Ellie L 123

    Soon after this article came out, a desperate effort on my part to save others my son’s fate, and the first mainstream media coverage of Zyprexa that I know of, Geeta Anand of the Wall St. Journal came out with a front page story on the drug. If possible, it should also appear on this archive. I worked with Geeta, and she did a very thorough job. Date of article – March or April, 2003. Soon after, Erica Goode of the NY Times did a front page article, too, and we heard that Lilly got nervous. But not to worry – the FDA, which we heard was embarrassed by all this coverage – it having done NOTHING – finally made all the atypicals put on watered-down cautionary language, even one of the brand-new atypicals (Geodon or Abilify). So this article got the ball rolling but to this day there is no black box on Zyprexa, except for seniors with dementia. And look at the toll. And the greed.

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