New guidelines for mental illness turn shyness in children from a personality trait into a mental disorder that warrants drug treatment. Drug companies already target children, who fidget too much in class or have trouble concentrating on their homework, with stimulant drugs for treating attention deficit disorder. Now children who sit too quietly or are more withdrawn than their peers will also be targeted with medication for social anxiety disorder or depression.
Doling out antipsychotic to kids for the first time can be a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Researchers found children can experience dramatic weight gain and insulin resistance just weeks after taking the drugs for the first time, Medscape.com reports. Lead researcher, John W. Newcomer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami, tells Medscape that prescribing antipsychotics has become trendy in the past 15 years or so — even though there is no sudden epidemic of schizophrenia in children. “The increase was due to the rising use of antipsychotics for disruptive behavior disorders,” he says.
Google the word “depression” and the first search result you’ll get is for the antipsychotic Seroquel XR. Visit WebMD and the home page hosts similar ads for Seroquel XR, above and adjacent to the lead news story. Who would know AstraZeneca inked the largest multi-state consumer protection settlement on record relating to deceptive Seroquel marketing just this week? For $68.5 million? Only a year after inking a similar settlement related to burying side effect and safety information for $520 million with the government? Who would know AstraZeneca has already settled nearly 25,000 personal injury lawsuits pertaining to Seroquel with more to come says ABC news?
First approved in 1997, Seroquel has enjoyed the camel-nose-under-the-tent phenomenon known as indications creep. First approved for schizophrenia, it was later approved for bipolar disorder and psychiatric conditions in children. But it was Seroquel’s 2009 approval as an add-drug for depression that helped it reach its spectacular sales of $5.3 billion in 2010 thanks to the US’ walloping depression “market” of 20 million.
Patient advocates filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday charging that New Jersey psychiatric hospitals routinely medicate patients against their will without a review by an outside arbiter, a practice that is banned in most other states.
In 1986, The International Journal of the Addictions published a very important literature review by Richard Scarnati. It was called “An Outline of Hazardous Side Effects of Ritalin (Methylphenidate)” [v.21(7), pp. 837-841]. Scarnati listed a large number of adverse affects of Ritalin and cited published journal articles which reported each of these symptoms.