Monthly Archives: July 2007

The ‘atypical’ dilemma – Skyrocketing numbers of kids are prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs. Is it safe? Nobody knows.

St. Petersburg Times 

By ROBERT FARLEY

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.

Even children as young as 3 years old. Last year, 1,100 Medicaid children under 6 were prescribed antipsychotics, a practice so risky that state regulators say it should be used only in extreme cases.

These numbers are just for children on fee-for-service Medicaid, generally the poor and disabled. Thousands more kids on private insurance are also on antipsychotics.

Almost entirely driving this spiraling trend is the rise of a class of antipsychotic drugs called atypicals.

These drugs emerged in the 1990s and replaced the older, “typical” antipsychotics like Haldol or Thorazine, which are often associated with Parkinson-like shakes.

The atypicals were developed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults. But once on the market, doctors are free to prescribe them to children, and for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

There is almost no research on the long-term effects of such powerful medications on the developing brains of children. The more that researchers learn, the less comfortable many are becoming with atypicals.

Initially billed as wonder drugs with few significant side effects, evidence is mounting that they can cause rapid weight gain, diabetes, even death…

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Risperdal Gave Kids Tooth Decay, Depression and Drowsiness, A New Study Finds

Pharmalot

By Ed Silverman

As drugmakers seek wider approval for their antipsychotics to be prescribed for youngsters, a new study finds some docs prescribed Risperdal for children 15 years old or younger who suffered insomnia or anxiety. Meanwhile, the med caused some kids to experience drowsiness, depression, tooth decay and weight gain. The findings were part of a national study in New Zealand and published in the latest edition of Drug Safety.

More than 90 per cent of prescriptions for the 420 children involved in the study were for Risperdal, which is called Ridal in New Zealand, where about 600 children are regularly prescribed the drug. The study by the Intensive Medicines Monitoring Programme found harmful side effects in 30 per cent of the children on the drugs classed as “atypical antipsychotics.” A third of these were linked to the drugs, say the researchers…

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