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Fraudulent Neuroleptic Drug Use Over 50 %

Fraudulent, or off-label, prescribing of neuroleptic drugs has reached ridiculous high levels; in fact, the % of people prescribed such drugs fraudulently, or for purposes for which they haven’t been approved by the FDA, is now well over 50 %. This is what a story on a research study for gantdaily.com shows, Study: Reducing Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Meds May Save Money.

Researchers say that 57.6 percent of patients prescribed antipsychotic medications in data from 2003 did not have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the conditions for which the drugs were approved for use. Use of medication for treatments that is not FDA-approved is called off-label use.

75 % of all neuroleptic drug prescription in the USA is covered by Medicaid. By ending the practice of fraudulently prescribing drugs the country could be saving great deal of money in health care. This is what the data (ca. 2003) collected from 42 states by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and published in the American Journal for Managed Care, seems to suggest.

During 2003, 372,038 patients received an antipsychotic medication. Of these patients, 214,113, or 57.6 percent, did not have a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Diagnoses included other mental disorders: 35 percent, minor depression — 25.4 percent, major depression — 23.2 percent, no mental disorder — 18.8 percent, conduct disorder — 18.8 percent, and anxiety disorder — 16.2 percent.

The researchers behind this study understate the case. Atypical neuroleptic drugs cause a metabolic syndrome which is the primary reason people in mental health treatment are dying off on average at an age 25 years younger than the rest of the population.

“Antipsychotics were the highest selling medication class at $14.6 billion in 2009,” [professor of public health sciences, Douglass L.] Leslie said. “Medicaid bears a significant proportion of these costs. Hence, off-label use may be responsible for a considerable portion of state Medicaid budgets, with little or no documented clinical benefit and a substantial risk of adverse effects. Off-label use may be an area of potential savings with little impact on patient outcomes.”

If there is little or no clinical benefit and a substantial risk, how can you say with any degree of reliability that ceasing to use these drugs fraudulently would have little impact on outcomes? I would think that outcomes would be likely to improve a great deal if mental health professionals resorted to more treatments that were beneficial and that didn’t cause any potential life-threatening risks to overall physical health instead.

8 Responses

  1. A patient,victim speaks.
    There are two kinds of antipsychotics the 50 year old tried and tested inexpensive *typical* antipsychotics like Thorazine,and the newer so-called *atypicals* like Risperdal,Seroquel,Zyprexa.
    These drugs are lifesavers for those with delusional mental illness which is only 1 percent of the population.

    The saga of the so called *atypical antipsychotics* is one of incredible profit.Eli Lilly made $65 BILLION on Zyprexa franchise (*Viva Zyprexa* Lilly sales rep slogan).

    Described as *the most successful drug in the history of neuroscience* the drugs at $12 pill are used by states to medicate deinstitutionalized mental patients to keep them out of the $500-$1,200 day hospitals.There is a whole underclass block of our society,including children in foster care that are the market for these drugs,but have little voice of protest if harmed by them.I am an exception,I got diabetes from Zyprexa as an off-label treatment for PTSD and I am not a mentally challenged victim so I post.
    Google-Haszard Zyprexa
    –Daniel Haszard – FMI zyprexa-victims(dot)com

    • An ex-patient speaks.

      People in the mental health system were living relatively long lives until the introduction of neuroleptic drugs. After the introduction of the first neuroleptic drugs in the mid-fifties, people in treatment were discovered to be dying 10 -15 years earlier than the rest of the population. This mortality gap, with the introduction of atypical neuroleptic drugs in the ninties, has grown to 25 – 30 years. The drugs are less lifesavers than they are killers. If the psychiatric profession were to cease using neuroleptic drugs entirely tomorrow, the psychiatric profession would be saving lives.

      Generic neuroleptic drugs, neuroleptic drugs that have lost their patents, are often as much as 80 % cheaper than non-generic. This means the drug companies must be raking in close to 80 % sheer profit. This prescription drug manufacturing rush means putting profits over people. When you put profits over people, you put profits over people’s health. This putting profits over people’s health is not a good thing when you’re supposed to be manufacturing “medicine”. “Medicine” that kills you is “bad medicine”. Another and more appropriate word for this “medicine” that is bad for you is poison.

      You, George, are one of tens of thousands of people who have been injured by these pharmaceutical products. This damage is due to the thoroughly discredited “chemical imbalance” theory of “mental illness”. Find other and non-chemical means to treat people in distress, and they’re physical health remains intact, and they don’t die at an earlier age than the rest of the population. This is a no-brainer the psychiatric profession is in denial about, if you want people’s health to improve, psychiatric or physical, you don’t feed them what amounts to poison. Duh.

      • All medicine is poison; the skill lies in the dosage. Tribal medicine is a very personal affair, with the patient receiving close monitoring if prescribed snake venom, for instance. Modern medicine and its one-size-fits-all compatibility measures is likely by its very nature to harm more than it heals when it comes to dosing the mind that does not require it.

        I do not necessarily agree that theories regarding chemical imbalance have been thoroughly discredited. I do believe, however, that introducing chemicals into the brain is something that should not be taken lightly. There is a risk of harm with all medications and people often end up taking a second medication to counteract some of the effects of a first, and so on.

        Drugs cause a chemical imbalance, so if there is not one there to start with that needs correcting, the patient is going to be made ill. Prescribing drugs based on the observation of or anecdotal evidence of certain types of behaviour is foolish, particularly when flimsy conclusions are reached within a ten minute meeting with a patient – or even from referring to a previous diagnosis – rather than from longer periods of monitoring. Most people taking anti-psychotics are not psychotic. Go figure.

      • I don’t see neuroleptic drugs as medicinal. On this point we disagree, G.M. The reason behind the drug use is seen as symptom management or reduction. When symptoms are behaviors that annoy other people, maybe something else is going on.

        If I may draw an analogy to the treatment that drug treatment replaced, I don’t think lobotomies were necessary surgical operations either. I don’t tend to see the problem as a problem of the brain, I tend to see the problem as a problem of the heart.

        Seeing a person in distress as “diseased” is a very medical model way of approaching the matter. Maybe the person isn’t “diseased”. Maybe he or she is just trapped in a set of bad circumstances. If so, change those circumstances and you change everything else.

  2. So, you do not see neuroleptic drugs as poison? I was of the understanding that you did. I think you have disagreed erroneously.

    When the reason for prescribing a drug is to temper annoying behaviour, then yes, there is something sinister going on. If that person is perfectly happy and is not harming anyone, then there is no reason to medicate them.

    If they are distressed, help should be offered. Treatment should not be forced upon a person because this will increase fear and distress. Definitely the law needs to be changed to reflect choice here.

    If a person is in danger or is putting someone else in danger then emergency treatment has to be considered. This is why defining an emergency is so important, as I have said elsewhere.

    I agree that problems of the heart are misplaced to the head by doctors. However, a problem of the heart is a problem of a person’s whole being.

    I agree that distress is not disease. But distress can arise as a result of disease. Finding the cause is the best way to help people. Treating the symptoms does not necessarily alleviate the cause although it can provide much needed relief to many.

    If a person’s distress is down to being trapped in bad circumstances then yes, the answer lies in changing the circumstances. If distress is down to disease, then curing the disease or giving some relief from the symptoms is reasonable.

    • I don’t see all medicine as poison. I do see neuroleptic drugs as poison.

      “Temper annoying behavior” is not necessarily “sinister”.

      Drugs are not help. If a person has a problem, a solution is demanded, and this is seldom what a person gets, from my experience, out of the mental health system.

      Where you are eluding to a person putting him or her self or somebody else in danger you are eluding to the legal definition of “insanity”. This is the excuse used to force treatment on people. In my view we should wait until a law has been broken before we prosecute people. Mental health law amounts to pre-crime law.

      Emergency, in the sense in which you are using it, is a very subjective term. Objective emergency is something else altogether.

      I’m not against treating the whole person, or holistic forms of treatment.

      Where’s the disease? Distress is not a disease. It shouldn’t be treated like a disease. This is where the increasing medicalization of life comes in. People are being called “sick” because they are shy, sad, anxious, or in adolescense. Shyness, sadness, anxiety, and youth are not “illnesses”. Period.

  3. Neuroleptic drugs are designed to interfere with signal uptake. They can be useful in the short term but are no substitute for tackling the root cause of a person’s problems. You are right about the lack of solutions from the mental health system. Doctors tend to think that if a symptom is suppressed by drugs that this somehow passes for a cure. I think big challenges lie in the general lack of understanding of the human condition and of the human mind. Doctors learn how to break people down into their components and forget that the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts thereof.

    I think it is incredibly sinister to drug out behavioural traits. I thought you did too. The potential end result is designer people and a totalitarian state.

    I know. The definition of insanity is the grey area I want to bring out into the open. Yes, mental health law does pass for pre-crime law; based upon crime prevention in the view of the law. Therefore it is important to disentangle mental health law from criminal law. Involuntary detention may be appropriate in an emergency but it makes the separation more difficult; and the fact that a lot of mental heath patients go into the system via arrest does not help.

    I would not want to wait until someone had murdered someone else or taken their own life before intervening. If a person is threatening to do either, I think that should be taken seriously regardless of any opinion about their sanity.

    If a person is detained, I do not believe they should be forced into treatment. Perhaps a cooling off period is enough for many. It is a conundrum to me that I am working through so please do not jump on my comments. I am looking for a practical implementable solution that can be presented as a viable alternative. Respite centres are a great model and are probably the ultimate goal, but the steps between here and there have to be taken.

    An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. That is an entirely objective statement.

    The pre-crime element comes in when people predict that a dangerous situation may arise and take preemptive action. This is a practice that has gotten out of hand and that is used to justify forced treatment of people who are not in need of it or who do not want it.

    Drug and alcohol related violent crime is significantly more prevalent than violence associated with any mental disorder.

    Click to access mentilln.pdf

    I think this needs to be understood. Popular culture has long given people with psychiatric labels bad press and people tend to fear what they do not understand. I think it is significant that more people are talking about conditions like schizophrenia and depression. The more that happens, the more people will understand that these are ordinary people with extraordinary thoughts rather than “the insane”.

    I gave you a long list of diseases that can cause hallucinations, including hyperthyroidism, for instance. Distress may be as the result of disease so the first thing to do is to determine the source. If there is no discernible source, then we are looking at something else and the definitions become less reliable.

    I agree that people are not sick if they are in adolescence. I think drugging children for so-called mental illness should be banned except in the most serious cases and that these ought to be reviewed by a panel of impartial individuals.

    Shyness, sadness and anxiety are normal feelings. When they become crippling, there is a problem. Sadness can become depression and extreme anxiety is a waking nightmare. Shyness is more difficult to assess. Some people are happy that way and others want to change. In all cases, facilitating people’s choices must be a prime consideration.

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