(Health Secrets) More children are being given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs than ever before, and at ages never dreamed of a few short years ago. To make matters worse, prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs are now being given for children as young as just a few months old, are being prescribed for off-label use in addition to the uses for which the FDA has granted approval.
It may not be surprising to see parents and doctors alike opt for controlling children’s behavior with drugs in a country where parents often feel stressed and harried, and where we have been taught by advertisements to look for cures in a pill bottle. But giving a child anti-psychotic drugs at a time when the brain is developing can produce devastating consequences to his or her future. It can also cause chemical dependence at a critical time in development.
Studies show alarming increases in antipsychotic drug treatment
Recent studies have shown that U.S. psychiatrists are now giving prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs for children at the end of one out of every three visits, triple the rate at which such drugs were prescribed in the 1990s. Studies have also found that about 90 percent of the anti-psychotic drug prescriptions are for off-label use, most often for school related behavior disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found an eight-fold increase in the growth of antipsychotic treatment of children over a 17 year period. Study author Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, warned:
“Practice has overstepped research. These rapidly rising rates of antipsychotic treatment in young people should give physicians pause.”
In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Olfson said: “Only a small proportion of antipsychotic treatment of children (6 percent) and adolescents (13 percent) is for FDA-approved clinical indications.”
Whether they are effective or not, the drugs have been known to cause many health problems, such as diabetes, heart problems, muscular tics, weight gain and suicide. For example, a University of Massachusetts study found that kids taking antipsychotics were four times more likely to develop diabetes.
Point the finger at big pharma
In part, the exponential rise in the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs can be attributed to the big rise in diagnosis of mental disorders – a rise many blame on the increased use of vaccinations and other drugs. However, big pharmaceutical companies have played a huge role, as they have pushed for more and more off-label use of their drugs. Their pushing has often gone beyond legal boundaries.
Just a few months ago, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)) was fined a record $3 billion for bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants for children. One of GSK’s drugs, Paxil was promoted as suitable for children and teenagers by the company despite the drug only being approved for adults, and three trials showed the drug was ineffective. Despite knowing Paxil was ineffective, GSK published a report entitled Positioning Paxil in the adolescent depression market – getting a head start.
The second GSK drug to be wrongly sold was Wellbutrin, another antipsychotic aimed only at adults.
GSK is hardly alone when it comes to illegally promoting off label use of their drugs. In just the past three years, drug companies that have been fined sums up to billions of dollars included Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Merck, Abbott, and Johnson and Johnson.
Most often, diagnosis of behavior disorders is little more than a doctor’s subjective opinion, or the pressure of a teacher. Regardless of how accurate a diagnosis may be, when it comes to children’s behavior problems, nature and good parenting offer safer and more effective solutions.
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Published with permission from Alignlife. Original article link is here.