Thursday, May 26, 2011

Atypical Antipsychotics in Children and the Elderly

This article in Time about using psychiatric medication on vulnerable populations (in this case, the elderly and children) raises some concerns about the way we use and view psychiatric medication in general. It also makes the point that: "Second-generation' antipsychotics like Geodon, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Risperdal rake in more money than any other class of medication on the market and, dollar for dollar, they are the biggest selling drugs in America."


Certainly, antipsychotics and other psychiatric medications have made huge differences for people, and have saved lives. At the same time, the popular consciousness seems to be shifting into a more active and informed roll about what psychiatric medication can and cannot do for someone. 


From the article:

Pharmaceutical companies have recently paid out the largest legal settlements in U.S. history — including the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations — for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs. The payouts totaled more than $5 billion. But the worst costs of the drugs are being borne by the most vulnerable patients: children and teens in psychiatric hospitals, foster care and juvenile prisons, as well as elderly people in nursing homes. They are medicated for conditions for which the drugs haven't been proven safe or effective — in some cases, with death as a known possible outcome.

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