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:

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.

Placebos Grow More Effective In The Treatment Of Schizophrenia

Dig it! According to a recent study, as reported on Fox News, sugar pills are more effective in the treatment of schizophrenia today than they were 10 years ago, Schizophrenia patients increasingly responding to placebos in trials.

Studies of schizophrenia drugs are increasingly finding lesser effects because more patients are responding to drug-free placebos used for comparison, according to a new United States government study.

I guess this is good news for placebo makers.

What’s more, recent clinical trials of second-generation antipsychotics — which emerged 20 years ago and now dominate the market — have been finding smaller treatment effects compared with trials from the early 1990s.

According to the article Food and Drug Administration researchers reviewed 32 clinical trials submitted to the agency between 1991 and 2008 to come up with their figures.

The researchers found North American trials done in more recent years turned up smaller treatment effects than older studies.

Dr. Thomas P. Laughren, one of the researchers, claimed that this was not because the drugs were any less effective, instead it was because patients given placebos started showing better responses. I guess this is proof positive that over the past 10 years placebos have been getting more powerful.

Another theory has it that the patients being treated today are less “sick”.

The patients responses on the drugs remained constant over time. Given the drug, there was a 13 point reduction of symptoms over a 4 to 8 week period. With the placebo this response changed over the years from 2 points between 1991 and 1998 to an average of 7 points between 1999 and 2008.

While the drugs showed a great statistical advantage over the placebo in the short term, it is our hope that these improved results could lead to more prolonged studies. If the clinical trials went on for quite a bit longer than 4 to 8 weeks, one school of thought has it that the placebo effect would eventually gain a distinct edge over the drug effect.

Any sporting person out there want to wager a bet over the outcome of this challenge? It is quite possible that the neuroleptic drug is a more of a sprinter beside the placebo which in the end could prove to be more of a marathon runner.

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 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.

Occupy the APA Counter-Celebration and Protest In Philadelphia on May 5

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is holding its annual convention in Philadelphia this year. The 5th revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s label bible, edited by members of the APA, is scheduled for release in 2013. The number of labels contained in the present label bible, the DSM-IV, is up to 374. Expect more, this number climbs with each new revision.

“Mental illness” labeling is at epidemic proportions. Pick up any newspaper in the country, and you are likely to find a story about the increasing numbers of people being labeled “mentally ill”. The APA with its DSM is the major force behind this upswing in the selling of “mental disorder” labels and the treatments that goes along with those labels. These epidemics are largely human made, and the people doing the making are members of this same APA.

Studies have shown people in the mental health system to be dying at an age on average 25 years younger than the rest of the population. This mortality gap is climbing. People in the mental health system are dying because of the drugs that they are being given purported to treat the labels they have recieved. These drugs cause a metabolic syndrome associated with a number of life-limiting and shortening physical ill health conditions. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are among those life threatening conditions. This death and disease rate represents an international tragedy that is largely being suppressed and ignored in the mainstream media.

“Off label” drugging, or prescribing drugs for purposes for which they have not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is rampant in the mental health field. Unruly children and demented nursing home patients are being managed and restrained by these powerful and potentially harmful drugs. These drugs have been known to cause the premature of death of senior citizens suffering from dementia. There is little question that many of the young people given these drugs ‘off label’, who otherwise would have had a brilliant future ahead of them, wind up lifelong mental patients, or mental health consumers, harmed by these drugs.

The APA has many strong financial connections with the pharmaceutical industry. 69 % of the committee members revising the DSM-5 have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This is to be contrasted with the committee revising the DSM-IV when 57 % of the committee members had such financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Despite regulations put into place over conflict of interest issues, the committee’s relationship to the pharmaceutical industry is growing stronger rather than weakening.

For these and other reasons a number of ex-patients, psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, dissident professionals, friends and allies will be gathering in Philadelphia for an Occupy the APA counter-celebration and protest. These people, of whom I include myself, will be there to support healthy, safe, and drug-free alternatives to conventionally harmful psychiatric treatment. They will be there to support other ways of dealing with troubled people besides harming them with drugs and giving them psychiatric labels.

We encourage other people in Philadelphia and at home to join us in our protest. There are other protests planned in sympathy and solidarity in Toronto Canada, Denver Colorado, Anchorage Alaska, Boston Massachusetts, and in other areas around the same time. You can find out more about this event by visiting the Occupy the APA page on the MindFreedom International website. Please, consider any direct action that you can take, be it ever so slight, to let the public know that the labeling, drugging, and harming of American citizens is not something that we can, nor should, take lightly.

Related post:

Spring Cleaning With The Trash Can Labeled “Antipsychiatry”

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery Chastises Dr. Oz

The Sacramento Bee is to be commended for running the story, National Mental Health Coalition Calls “Dr. Oz” Electroshock Show One-Sided, on The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery’s (NCMHR) view of a segment The Dr. Oz Show is running on electro-shock.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) calls upon the producers of “The Dr. Oz Show” to provide balanced and truthful coverage of the risks of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in which grand mal seizures are electrically induced, usually to treat severe depression.

Dr. Oz apparently wants to give the impression that electro-shock is a safe procedure. If efforts on Capitol Hill to get the electro-shock devices declared safe by the FDA without further research failed, maybe Dr. Oz should listen to those people who have had first hand experience with this issue.

“Shock survivors” and many other mental health advocates assert that ECT’s disabling effects – including permanent memory loss and cognitive deficits – outweigh possible benefits, and call for potential ECT recipients to be told the risks so they can make an informed choice.

Informed consent is never truly informed consent until it is fully informed consent.

“The research is clear: ECT causes closed head injury, temporary euphoria, then return of depression but with enduring memory loss,” says Dr. Daniel B. Fisher, psychiatrist and NCMHR board member. Among the show’s false claims are that less electricity is used in unilateral ECT. “In reality,” Dr. Fisher said, “unilateral ECT requires more electricity.” Calling the show’s claim of 80 percent effectiveness “vastly exaggerated,” Dr. Fisher pointed out that, while many may experience a lifting of depression, this is only temporary, but the disabling side effects are permanent. In addition, many ECT recipients say their depression was exacerbated by the stress associated with their ECT-related cognitive disabilities.

Electro-shock survivors need to be listened to regardless of whether their experiences have been positive or negative. This kind of suppression of the evidence in the name of doing harm to the gullible is something that must be frowned on in all instances for basic humanitarian reasons.

The segment of The Dr. Oz show in question was called The Shock That Could Save Your Life. It would only be fitting and fair, not to mention truthful, if Dr. Oz were to air another segment of his show called The Shock That Could Take Your Life.

Shock survivors and other critics of psychiatric violence are encouraged to give Dr. Oz a piece of their mind in the comment section below the page containing the video.

Putting Up With The Antics Of Rebecca And A Couple Of Other Crazies

Oh no, I found another one! Here’s an article from Kansas, from The Topeka Capital-Journal to be exact. The heading of this article reads, Topekan talks about living with schizophrenia.

A Topeka woman is sharing what it is like to live with schizophrenia in a 30-minute documentary that will air Sunday on Topeka’s public television station.

I wonder why people so seldom talk about living without schizophrenia? Ditto, bipolar disorder? Why don’t we have stories starting, ‘I once had a pet schizophrenia, but I got rid of mine. I Just didn’t care for it that much.’

Oh, I know…because they’ve got a drug to help people manage the symptoms now.

“Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery,” featuring Topekan Rebecca Phillips and two other people diagnosed with the chronic brain disorder, will air at 3 p.m. on KTWU, Channel 11.

“The chronic brain disorder”, say people who want to sell you a drug “treatment”.

“It’s been a long journey,” Phillips, 37, said of her recovery.

What kind of “recovery” can there be to a “chronic brain disorder“? Isn’t this sort of like talking about seeking the “cure” for “incurable insanity”?

“Someone with schizophrenia can be active in the community. They can make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “There’s hope for people with schizophrenia. The end doesn’t have to be bad. They can be just like anyone.”

Anyone? Even people without a pet schizophrenia? Now here comes the scary part…

Phillips said she was asked to do the film in 2010 by officials at Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded and produced the film. She previously had taken part in a shorter film about schizophrenia the company made for its sales representatives.

Jenssen Pharmaceuticals, if you don’t know, is owned by Johnson & Johnson. They are the not so wonderful people who brought you the neuroleptic drug Risperal.

Uh, considering the following, this isn’t the accident you might think it is, is it?

The years that followed were a mix of hospitalizations and medications to try to control the schizophrenia. That changed when she went to The University of Kansas Hospital and was prescribed risperdal consta, a drug she takes by injection every two weeks.

Living with Schizophrenia, the documentary, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperal.

This is the same Johnson & Johnson that just got sued for fraud to the tune of 158,000,000 smackeroos by the state of Texas for ‘off label’ prescription practices, notably of their neuroleptic drug Risperal.

I’m thinking about making my own film, Living without Schizophrenia. A film of which it could be said that no drug company, neither Eli Lilly, nor Johnson & Johnson, nor Pfizer, nor Bristol-Myer Squibb, nor Asta Zeneca, had any hand in the production.

Investing In Mental Health Rather Than In “Mental Illness”

Reading about what we call “mental illness” from conventional sources is very boring, and no wonder, it’s all the same old tired clichés repeated over and over again. You can talk about one size not fitting all until you‘re blue in the face, but when it comes down to it, we’ve got one size, and we’re trying to make it fit everybody. This size is the prevailing theory and the baggage it, not troubled lives themselves, represents. If you can throw the textbook out the window, then a lot of those troubles, not lives, are going to go with it.

A lot of things have changed in mental health services in the last thirty years or so. Things have gotten much worse. Thirty years ago non-recovery wasn’t the forgone conclusion that it is today. Thirty years ago treatment teams weren’t hounding people deemed in need of intensive care everywhere they went trying to make sure they stayed on their harmful psychiatric drugs. Thirty years ago nobody was ordered into forced treatment outside of a state hospital. Thirty years ago people in mental health treatment were only dying 10 to 15 years younger on average than the rest of the society, now they’re dying at an age 25 years younger. Thirty years ago doctors were less likely to give people powerful drugs for purposes that had not been approved by the FDA. Thirty years ago fewer people labeled “mentally ill” doubled as career mental health workers.

The disability field is a mixed bag, truly. Now I have issues with people labeled “mentally ill” who become “stake holders” in their area’s mental health system. I’m not a “stake holder”. I was involuntarily committed on numerous occasions, I want absolutely no part in a system based upon the deprivation of personal freedoms. Many of the people in the community mental health system got there through the state hospital psychiatric imprisonment system. I’m not one to invest in the deprivation of personal liberties, especially where I am the person being deprived of liberty. I am not an advocate for the kind of dependence that comes of crippling and life disrupting mistreatment. I’d like to see resilience and self-reliance become more of the rule in the mental health care world than they are today.

Becoming a turn-coat and traitor was never my chief aim in life. I’d rather cling to my loyalties. One of those loyalties is to the psychiatrically oppressed and mistreated. I don’t want to have a stake in oppression and mistreatment. I had rather have a stake in the liberation of people from psychiatric oppression and mistreatment. This is where our psychiatric survivor movement began, and it’s where I remain. I’m an advocate for working outside of the system; I’m not an advocate of, and for, working within the system.

I’m not against sitting at the table. I know a university hospital emergency room that sees 2500 people a year for psychiatric issues. Many of these people end up on the psych unit of this university hospital. Some of those people in turn end up being sent to the state hospital for imprisonment mistreatment. If this locality had a crisis respite center, a number of the people presently being sent to the state hospital wouldn’t have to go there because we’d have an operational and preventative alternative to that hospital. There are only a few of these crisis respite centers in the entire country right now. They save reputations, they save lives, and they save money. We should have them everywhere.

Penalties needed for nursing homes that drug seniors government inspector says

The Washington Post has a story about government inspectors going after nursing homes over the issue of dispensing neuroleptic drugs for dementia. The article bears the very promising headline, Gov’t inspector says penalties needed to curb use of psychiatric drugs in nursing homes.

Government inspectors told lawmakers Wednesday that Medicare officials need to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs to nursing home patients with dementia, an unapproved practice that has flourished despite repeated government warnings.

This is, in my opinion, a very good move.

An inspector for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the Senate Committee on Aging that the federal government’s Medicare program should begin penalizing nursing homes that inappropriately prescribe antipsychotics, according to written testimony obtained by the Associated Press.

Yay! Somebody is suggesting doing something that makes sense for a change. It’s an action that is sorely needed as the extent of this “off label” prescribing practice is beyond alarming.

A report by [Health and Human Services Inspector General] Levinson’s office issued in May found that 83 percent of Medicare claims for antipsychotics were for residents with dementia, the condition specifically warned against in the drugs’ labeling. Fourteen percent of all nursing home residents, nearly 305,000 patients, were prescribed antipsychotics. The HHS Inspector General’s office Medicare claims during a 2007 six month period.

As nursing home staff are disregarding these warning labels, penalties are called for. If nursing homes aren’t penalized it will mean many more needless deaths.

Bravo, government inspector, but this is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to “off label” drugging. This is not a problem that exists just among the elderly. We need to penalize foster care workers and juvenile justice facilities that would use powerful neuroleptic drugs on children and adolescents as a controlling devise as well. Hopefully there, too, the government will get around to doing the only thing that will help curtail “off label” prescribing practices, and that’s punishing the biggest offenders.

New American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines Promote Fraud

The American Academy of Pediatrics just lowered the age for labeling and drugging children with ADHD from age 6 to age 4 in its guidelines. As the FDA has not approved these drugs for children under the age of 6 years old, apparently the AAP is encouraging doctors to commit fraud.

The story was covered by the Boston Globe under the headline New ADHD guidelines could increase treatment in preschoolers and high schoolers.

It is reported that the professor who chaired the AAP guidelines committee had serious conflicts of interest with several major drug manufacturers.

([Dr. Mark] Wolraich, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has served as a consultant to several pharmaceutical firms that manufacture drugs for the treatment of ADHD. Most of the 15 members of the guideline writing committee had no conflicts.)

If the ADHD labeling rate in this country is growing, lowering the age permitted for labeling children is certainly not going to shrink that rate. In fact, this lowering of the age is likely, in all probability, to accelerate that growth. Accelerated growth in the number of kids labeled with ADHD translates over-diagnosing and over-drugging.

An estimated 5 percent of American school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD or its cousin, attention deficit disorder, and questions have been raised concerning the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of the disorders in those with mild behavioral problems that fall into the normal range of behavior. Two studies last year found that the youngest kids in the class — who are more likely be less mature than their peers — were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Children shouldn’t be penalized for their immaturity. It is in the nature of children to be immature. When adolescents have been drugged since early childhood, the effects of drug withdrawal are often confused for “symptoms of mental illness”. This confusion is often never uncovered.

In a blog posted today, pediatrician Claudia Gold, author of the book Child in Mind, argued that extending the diagnosis down to age 4 is very worrisome. “There is a wide range of maturity rate,” Gold wrote. “A four or five-year-old who is among the youngest in the class is at particular risk for being diagnosed with ADHD for what is in fact a normal developmental variation.”

As I have heard it put before, “All toddlers have ADHD”. Generally they grow out of it without any sort of psychiatric intervention. We call this absence of intervention respecting the differences between children and adults. This is given the uncommon understanding that major problems are more likely occur after psychiatrists are brought into the equation. Major problems that often have a tendency to linger beyond the onset of adulthood.

Starting junior off on the wrong footsy

Parents, deserving of the title, don’t label their toddlers “mentally ill”, and dope them up on psychiatric drugs. Duh! That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. Despite my feelings, feelings that I imagine to be shared with many other people in the world, according to an article in CNN, the incidence of the labeling and drugging of babies is increasing, Preschoolers on meds: Too much too soon? The three letter immediate response elicited by my viscera to this news is yes.

Take Shelby (not her real name), her mother’s problem…child!

The capsule contains 20 milligrams (mg) of Ritalin (methylphenidate), the prescription stimulant used to calm and focus children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). After dinner, Shelby takes more meds — 2.5 mg of Abilify and .05 mg of clonidine. The preschooler has been on daily medication since she was 2, when she slept only about four hours a night and threw frequent, violent temper tantrums that sometimes left her mother with bruises and bite marks.

This girl reaches her terrible twos, and wham, she’s on dope. Did nobody explain to her parents that the terrible twos can be a trying time, and that you shouldn’t try to drug this period of child rearing off the wallchart? Pharmaceutical products and very young children are not a good mix. Pharmaceutical products, pregnant women, and birth defects illustrate most vividly the importance of natural as opposed to chemical measures.

A psychiatrist at the local children’s hospital diagnosed bipolar disorder. For a year, Shelby was on increasingly potent doses of Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic, and Depakote (divalproex), an antiseizure drug that’s also used to reduce mania.

Did this psychiatrist even bother to diagnose child? Should the doctor have done so, perhaps the doctor would have left more time for this individual to fuck up in before she was determined to be a terminal fuck up.

A psychologist objected to the bipolar label, suggesting instead that the child be labeled Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Obedient Defiant Disorder, and hopped up on Ritalin (i.e. speed). Obviously the conventional wisdom here has it that this child is not your perfectly normal kid. This kid, at 4 years old, is majorly fucked up.

I’m not so sure that there are so many child monsters out there as some deluded people might imagine. On the other hand, I feel certain there are probably many more adult monsters out there than we need. Given the proliferation of adult monsters, we have children early on labeled perpetual fuck-ups, and put on brain-numbing behavior-changing doses of chemicals.

In spite of the growing number of young kids taking psychiatric drugs, these medications (with a few exceptions) are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children under age 6. Why? Because little is known about how they affect the tiny brains and bodies of young children.

I think a little more is known about how these drugs affect tiny brains and bodies than these “experts” are letting on. When what is described as “help” is actually “harm”, regarding a drug you are trying to sell to the public, including the parents of toddlers, you have to twist the facts (be deceptive) a little bit in order to sell (profit from) that drug. Off label drug treatment, that is, drug treatments not approved by the FDA, are illegal. This is why drug companies have been facing some of the stiffest civil penalties in history. The problem is that the trillion dollar drug industry hauls in enough cash to be able to write off these historic fines fairly easily. We have another word for treatments not approved by the FDA, and that word is fraud. Snake oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA either.

If targetting the rich and powerful drug industry doesn’t work so well, in terms of a corrective, maybe targetting doctors who over-diagnose “mental illness” and over-prescribe harmful psychiatric drugs might work better. When doctors who break the law, rather than getting a mild knuckle rapping, can lose their license for breaking the law in this fashion, they will be less likely to break the law in the future. I suggest that law firms should initiate legal actions against those doctors who are the worst offenders in these matters. Among those doctors facing suits would be doctors who prescribe drugs to toddlers because very few, if any, of these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use on infants.