Ken Kramer, a researcher with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida, says the numbers underestimate the extent of the problem, because medical examiners do not track deaths attributed to antipsychotic drugs or to antidepressants, both of which carry black-box or black-label warnings. The warnings on antidepressants, required by the Food and Drug Administration, state that the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents and young adults up to age 24. (Antidepressants include Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Lexapro and Celexa.)
Antidepressant use could be linked to blindness in older adults, a recent study suggests. Drugs that treat depression known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, caused an increased risk of developing cataracts in patients aged 65 or older, according to a study published in the journal Ophthalmology in June.
Science Daily is reporting that a study shows that newly admitted elderly patients to nursing homes have a higher rate of being prescribed antipsychotic drugs than in previous years. This study found that in 2007, almost one-third of U.S. nursing home residents received antipsychotic drugs. The FDA has issued a warning that there is a great risk of death among older adults with dementia who are taking these agents to control behavioral symptoms.
Older Australians are being overprescribed medications for depression, according to a study by University of Queensland researchers published today in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
The Massachusetts attorney general joined that federal lawsuit accusing Johnson & Johnson of paying kickbacks to push the antipsychotic Risperdal and other drugs into nursing homes. AG Martha Coakley didn’t stop there; however, her office is also investigating other companies that market antipsychotics to nursing homes in the state.