Monthly Archives: December 2007

A risky drug may get wider market – The FDA may approve Zyprexa for kids, despite its significant side effects in adult use.

St. Petersburg Times

By ROBERT FARLEY

It sounds like a cosmic, FDA joke:

The Food and Drug Administration approves the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa to treat adults with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It becomes a market wonder, a bestseller. But the side effects turn out to be dangerous; some patients develop diabetes.

Some 30,000 people sue the manufacturer, Eli Lilly. The pharmaceutical giant shells out more than $1-billion to settle the cases.

Here comes the punch line:

Though studies show that kids are even more susceptible to Zyprexa’s dangerous side effects, now Lilly wants the government’s seal of approval for adolescents to use it. And the FDA is about to say yes…

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Prescription Abuse Seen In U.S. Nursing Homes – Powerful Antipsychotics Used to Subdue Elderly – Huge Medicaid Expense

Wall Street Journal

By LUCETTE LAGNADO

In recent years, Medicaid has spent more money on antipsychotic drugs for Americans than on any other class of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, AIDS drugs or medicine to treat high-blood pressure.

One reason: Nursing homes across the U.S. are giving these drugs to elderly patients to quiet symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Nearly 30% of the total nursing-home population is receiving antipsychotic drugs, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS. In a practice known as “off label” use of prescription drugs, patients can get these powerful medicines whether they are psychotic or not. CMS says nearly 21% of nursing-home patients who don’t have a psychosis diagnosis are on antipsychotic drugs…

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