The widely used Seroquel antipsychotic was never approved to treat post-traumatic stress disorder or the insomnia sometimes related to the afflication, but that hasn’t stopped the drug from being prescribed for that purpose by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and, in the process, becoming one of the VA’s biggest expenditures.
WASHINGTON — Andrew White returned from a nine-month tour in Iraq beset with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder: insomnia, nightmares, constant restlessness. Doctors tried to ease his symptoms using three psychiatric drugs, including a potent anti-psychotic called Seroquel.
Andrew Tighman, writing in the Marine Corps Times, recently described the investigation of Fred A. Baughman Jr., M.D. into the deaths of military personnel taking multiple psychotropic medications. Baughman was alerted to a series of soldier deaths upon reading a May 2008 article in the Charleston [WV] Gazette titled “Vets Taking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Drugs Die in Sleep.” Baughman, a retired neurologist known previously for his criticism of medication treatments of ADHD and other mental health disorders, suspected that the reported cases could be part of a much larger problem.
Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD today announced the results of his research into the “series” of veterans’ deaths acknowledged by the Surgeon General of the Army. Upon reading the May 24, 2008, Charleston (WV) Gazette article “Vets Taking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Drugs Die in Sleep,” Baughman began to investigate why these reported deaths were “different.” And, why they were likely, the “tip of an iceberg.”