By Jim Edwards
Dr. Joan Luby, the preschool depression researcher at the center of a New York Times article that failed to mention her past research was funded by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Shire (SHPGY) and AstraZeneca (AZN), is currently testing the antipsychotic Risperdal on autistic children aged 30 months to 5 years old, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov database. Although the study is not funded by Janssen, the unit of J&J that makes Risperdal, it nonetheless typifies a new field of drug research: The use of mood-altering pharmaceuticals on the very, very young.
The NYT piece investigated the development of preschool depression as a diagnosis. Slate, like me, found it surprising that the author did not believe Big Pharma’s interest in the field was relevant. Minyanville thought the same thing. Such research is controversial. In November 2008, the FDA said antipsychotic drugs were over-used in children and that more should be done to discourage doctors from treating unruly kids with powerful drugs.
Luby — who also believes that certain antidepressants may be effective in children, according to this press release — is just one researcher looking at extending the use of antipsychotics to very young kids. Here’s a study on Lithium vs. Risperdal in kids aged 7 and up. And here’s a similar trial on kids aged 6 and up. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is currently testing Paxil on 7-year-olds despite that medicine’s well-document propensity to trigger suicides in young patients.
The reason the FDA has warned against use of these drugs in kids is twofold: First, many of these products are not approved for use in children. Risperdal — the product in the Luby study of 30-month olds — is only approved for use in autistic children older than 5; and for schizophrenics older than 13. Eli Lilly (LLY)’s competing antipsychotic Zyprexa is not indicated for anyone below the age of 13.
Read the rest of this article here http://www.bnet.com/blog/drug-business/big-pharma-8217s-next-big-thing-antipsychotic-medicines-for-preschoolers/5624?tag=content;drawer-container
To see what side effects doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and consumers have reported to the US FDA regarding antipsychotics and antidepressants on children (including 0-1 year olds) search CCHR’s decrypted FDA Medwatch reports here https://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/medwatch_psych_drug_adverse_reactions.php
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