Tarnished View of Wonder Drugs

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Karl Stark

When they were first introduced in the early 1990s, new antipsychotic medications for severe mental illness were seen as wonder drugs that were safer and more effective than their predecessors.

Sales soared as doctors tried them on new conditions, including dementia, aggression and other behavioral problems. Children and the elderly were among the biggest users.

But now, several studies questioning some of the drugs’ benefits have led many doctors to talk of using them for shorter periods and with tighter monitoring, because of side effects that include sedation, obesity and diabetes.

“You can’t just pop someone on it and see them in a year,” said Jason Karlawish, a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania.

These drugs, known as atypical antipsychotics, offer a contentious case study of a common pattern in pharmaceuticals. New drugs are typically approved for narrow uses and get tried off-label on conditions that are difficult to treat. Companies’ sales efforts stoke up overall use until the research catches up years later, dulling the early enthusiasm. While some patients are helped, lawsuits are also a common legacy.

The atypicals were originally approved for severe mental illness – schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – which had limited markets.

But under a determined marketing effort portraying them as safer and more effective than their predecessors, the atypicals came to be tried beyond their approved uses for nursing-home residents, prisoners, and children younger than 6 years old…



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3 responses to “Tarnished View of Wonder Drugs

  1. Hansi


    Thanks for running this blog.
    Keep up the good work with information
    about the evilness in the psych industry.

  2. pepsijuror


    I totally agree. Continue to bring this information to the public’s eye to demonstrate the evilness and fraudulent nature that Psychiatry truly is.

  3. PepsiJuror

    In a case like this, most people want to identify and go after and hang the correct target or (depending on how many there are) all the targets. No one would argue though that in most cases, other people and groups (sometimes justifiably) get hung out to dry in the process during the process of getting back to the source or root of such a scandal.

    The target is typically identified only as the matador swinging around the BIG RED cape holding the sword, yelling “Toro, Toro”. Who put the matador in the ring, or for that matter, who originally invented Bull Fighting? No sensible person would argue that in most cases, there are several layers to any puzzle and you have to follow the bread crumbs back to the source.

    No one can forgive, let alone dismiss Lilly for what they’ve done. Perhaps looking a bit deeper, anyone can quickly adjudicate and identify this unfortunate situation surrounding Zyprexa is simply the tip of iceberg.

    How many other atypical antipsychotic/depressants exist on the market (from a myriad of drug makers) which has created an overwhelming number of devastating affects on people? After all, these pharmaceutical companies are making enormous sums of money (billions) creating and distributing FDA rated Class II Narcotics, compared by experts and the FDA as addictive and lethal as heroin and cocaine. Big-Pharma is simply on their way to putting big drug lords out of business. I mean who can blame Lilly, let alone the other drug makers for wanting to make BIG money?

    If one was interested in more than a superficial look at the situation, perhaps one may want to look a bit deeper. The drug companies don’t write prescriptions for drugs. They don’t even CREATE THE BILLING CODES for these devastating drugs.

    Who writes the prescriptions?

    GP and Psychiatrists do. But, that isn’t where the crumbs end. If you simply stopped at the prescription layer, you haven’t gotten to the source.

    Who writes the billing codes for these prescriptions?

    These billing codes are written in the DMZ IV by the American Psychiatric Association.

    If the series of lawsuits puts Lilly out of business, there is another drug maker who will pick up their business.

    Lilly is just one of the culpable patsies.

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