The Numbers Of US Children On Neuroleptic Drugs Rises

Rueters in a news release, Antipsychotic use growing in U.S. kids and teens, reports the use of neuroleptics on children and teenagers up from less than 10 % of the youths who visited a psychiatrist in the 1990s to fully 1/3 of the youths who visit a psychiatrist in the 2000s.

Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed during almost one in three of all visits kids and teens make to psychiatrists in the United States, according to a new study, up from about one in eleven during the 1990s.

This rise is attributed chiefly to the entirely fraudulent, or off label, practice of prescribing drugs for purposes for which they haven’t been approved by the FDA. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and its attendant disruptive behavior, are one of the labels that these drugs are mentioned as being falsely prescribed for.

[Columbia University Professor Mark] Olfson and his colleagues, who published their work Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that for kids and teens, roughly 90 percent of the antipsychotic prescriptions written during office visits between 2005 and 2009 were “off label,” which means the drugs are being prescribed for something other than for what they’re approved.

90 % is 10 % less than 100 %, and so that’s gotta be a whole lotta kids who are being prescribed pills for fraudulent reasons.

Kids taking atypical neuroleptics, off label or not, are at risk for a metabolic syndrome that involves massive weight gain and attendant physical ill health conditions.

Last year, a large study of children, from the University of Massachusetts, found that kids who took antipsychotic drugs were four times more likely to develop diabetes than their peers who were not taking the medications. (See Reuters Health story of November 22, 2011: http://reut.rs/MtH5dB.)

Overall this study found that neuroleptic drug use increased across the board but especially among children and adolescents.

The numbers of kids on these drugs increased from 0.24 of 100 between 1993 and 1998 to 1.83 of 100 between 2005 and 2009. The numbers of teens went from 0.78 in 100 in the 1990s to 3.76 in 100 in the 2000s.

There is more than a great danger, indeed you can be quite certain in many cases, that some of this excessive and fraudulent drugging is going to lead to neurological damage, and a lifetime on federal benefits in the mental health system, for some of the children and adolescents put on these pills.

Advertisements

5 Responses

  1. Off label prescribing of any and all drugs that have been developed for mental health disorders ought to be banned; this is particularly necessary where children are concerned. On what basis do general practitioners think they know the intricacies of the processes involved when chemicals are injected into a young brain? Are drug company representatives telling them that it is good practice to do so or are they paying them to do so?

    The fact that they are seemingly all in it together makes it a challenge to undo but it is not impossible.

    We cannot accept this medication of the developmental process. They are turning our children into generations of neurotic automatons. It is abuse of and experimentation upon the vulnerable.

    • Off label prescribing, in point of fact, is fraud. You don’t ban fraud, you prosecute it. Fraud is a crime. Law courts have been taking drug companies to task for the matter with biggest legal settlements in the history of the profession. Were criminal rather than civil courts to take up the matter, off labeling prescribing would recede fast. When almost 90 % of children and adolescents are being prescribed drugs off label, that is exactly what the courts should do.

      If the courts were to go after the licenses of psychiatrists, if they were to put psychiatrists behind bars, off label prescribing would vanish. The courts are going after the drug companies with civil suits. That is “acceptable” in their eyes. The drug companies encourage the psychiatrists, and the psychiatrists do their dirty work. Someone needs to do something about the worst offenders among psychiatrists. If the drug companies encourage fraud, it is the doctors who are committing the crime itself.

      Off label prescribing is part and parcel of the polypharmacy trend we’ve got going now. If distressed people are to be popping pills like they were candy, then you don’t look too closely at the effects. We have a prescription drug culture, for which doctors are in large part responsible, that is almost as bad as anything the illicit drug trade has concocted. In the mental health field we have this rising mortality gap, and if you want examples of the harm done, there is Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, etc., etc., etc.

  2. I agree with you but I am not sure where the law stands on off label prescribing. It normally happens when a drug is found to have some benefit for an illness it is not usually prescribed for. That is not so sinister. However, that is not what is happening with psychiatric drugs. Doctors and psychiatrists are essentially experimenting or being paid to, or encouraged or coerced into, pushing drugs onto patients regardless of their symptoms. This is where the crime is. The drug companies are the drug barons and the doctors and psychiatrists are the dealers. It is so obvious that they ought to be prosecuted as criminals that the reason they are not being is what needs to be addressed. And the reason is money.

    How do we change the dynamic when the money is paying politicians and the law to look the other way? When the pharmaceutical companies are so big that they affect the economy? The “biggest settlements in the history of the profession” are chicken feed. The profits roll in and it is worth it to these companies to chance it. The profits from the sale of the drugs we are talking about far exceed the payouts. As long as the law can show it is doing something, most people will be satisfied. Meanwhile, the machine grinds on.

    It would give me the greatest of pleasure to see a few CEOs hauled off to jail after having their assets seized like the drug barons they are.

    • Both MSNBC and the New York Times referred to the historic 3 billion $ settlement that GlaxoSmithKline recently made as a fraud settlement. Off label prescribing practices are fraud. I don’t think you’re going to be able to touch the CEOs. They are merely encouraging fraud. The doctors are the ones who actually commit fraud, and they are the ones that are going to have to be affected if you’re going to end it. What you’ve got is what Dr. Loren Mosher called an unholy alliance of big pharma, certain mental health advocacy groups, and psychiatry. These big settlements have put a big dent in drug research and development, but it’s not dead, and the paradigm is still the same. If you took away the licenses of a few doctors then you get the matter at its base. Psychiatrists are the people who make this thing go. Prosecute psychiatrists, and you will be hurting drugs sales as well in ways that they need to be hurt. There is only so much you can do to a drug company CEO. You can destroy a psychiatrists career, and then other psychiatrists will be wary of having their fortunes take a nose dive, too.

      • I agree that the psychiatrists and doctors must be targeted but the source of the drugs has to be tackled too. When the drug dealer on the corner of the street goes to jail, another will soon be pushing because the drug supply is still there. There is so much pressure from big pharma that psychiatrists are more likely to come up with reasons for prescribing than they are to stop. It is time we stopped looking at CEOs as untouchables. They push the psychiatrists to prescribe the drugs and provide false information to doctors in general about the safety of the drugs. Civil litigation must be replaced by criminal prosecution across the board. Having said that, targeting the immediate source is, I believe, a simpler route to take in the first instance. The psychiatrists are lower down the tree, so it ought to be easier to prosecute them in a more clear cut manner. Putting pressure on big pharma to clearly delineate usage of psychiatric medication with the same care they would the usage of narcotics is essential.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: