Monthly Archives: October 2007

Mass. tracks children on psychiatric drugs – Prescriptions eyed after overdose – Four-year-old Rebecca Riley of Hull died of an overdose of psychiatric drugs in December

Boston Globe

By Scott Allen

Following the death of a 4-year-old Hull girl from an overdose of psychiatric drugs last December, state officials have set up a unique early-warning system to spot preschoolers who may be getting excessive medication for mental illness. In just the first three months, the system has flagged the cases of at least 35 children for further investigation, and the number is sure to rise.

The state Medicaid program is analyzing records of 82,900 children under age 5, looking for those taking at least three psychiatric drugs or a single prescription of a powerful antipsychotic drug. Mental health professionals will review the care of these children and, if necessary, contact the prescribing doctor for an explanation, say officials of the state insurance program for lower-income families, known as MassHealth.

Although cases like the overdose of Rebecca Riley are rare, the prescription of psychiatric drugs to young children is not. Doctors last year prescribed Clonidine – a drug sometimes used to treat hyperactivity that was found in lethal quantities in the Hull girl’s bloodstream – to 955 children under age 7 in MassHealth. Doctors also prescribed antipsychotic drugs, which raise the risk of diabetes and obesity, to 536 children under age 7, according to MassHealth records. MassHealth could not say how many of these cases involve children under age 5 and might be subject to review…

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Eli Lilly to bolster Zyprexa warning – Drug’s label will emphasize blood sugar, weight risks

The Indianapolis Star

By JOHN RUSSELL JOHN.RUSSELL@INDYSTAR.COM

After batting down criticism for years that it underplayed the risks of its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, Eli Lilly and Co.  is beefing up the drug’s label to add stronger language concerning weight gain and elevated blood sugar.

Some critics chided the Indianapolis drug maker for waiting so long to take such steps. One analyst said the move might encourage more legal claims against the company.

Lilly said Friday it is taking the steps after reviewing more data from internal tests and major outside studies. The company said it will display the information prominently in the warning section of the label, rather than lower, where it might be missed.

“Now it will be closer to the front of the label and provide a more prominent information point for physicians,” said Lilly spokeswoman Marni Lemons.

Lilly also acknowledged, in a letter to doctors, that Zyprexa is more likely to raise blood-sugar levels than competing drugs…

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