Reconsidering psychiatric drugs

The Register Guard (Eugene, Oregon)

By Susan Palmer

When the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa came into Tracey Dumas’ life five years ago, it sounded like a good thing: a relatively new medication that would relieve her psychotic thoughts without the damaging side effects of the old drugs. Dumas was willing to try it.

But like many of the powerful class of neuroleptics that target the symptoms of mental illness, Zyprexa had problems. After a year of taking it, the normally petite Dumas had gained 90 pounds and had developed pre-diabetic symptoms, an illness that did not run in her family.

While the drug seemed to calm her delusional thoughts and didn’t make her feel as sluggish as some other medications, it was also ruining her health.

Now, like thousands of others, Dumas is part of a class-action lawsuit against Zyprexa manufacturer Eli Lilly, which already has spent $1.4 billion to settle more than 20,000 claims by patients who say the drug made them sick.

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is one of five attorneys general investigating whether Eli Lilly illegally promoted uses of Zyprexa that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

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