The University of Minnesota recently announced that it is ending the controversial practice of recruiting study participants from patients involuntarily being held in their psychiatric unit. In a commentary for Minnesota’s Star Tribune, bioethicist and MIA contributor Carl Elliot reports that the university has still not apologized to the patient who spoke out against this practice. Instead, “the university has done its best to discredit him.”
The Psychiatric Advisor reports on new research from King’s College London that suggests that antipsychotics can cause serious harm to people with Parkinson’s. According to the research: “The group that was treated with antipsychotics were four times more likely to have died following three to six months of treatment than those who did not receive any antipsychotic medication, the researchers reported in the Journal of Medical Directors Association. In addition, those on antipsychotics were also more likely to experience cognitive decline, worsening of Parkinson’s symptoms, stroke, infections, and falls.”
After the 2009 suicide of a seven-year-old foster kid who had been on two “black box” medications intended for adults, Florida updated its policies to protect vulnerable children from over-prescription. Unfortunately, according to a report by Orlando Weekly, “foster children are still being put on psychotropic medications without caregivers following proper procedures.”
The University of Minnesota announced a change to its research ethics policies this month after coming under criticism “following the recruitment of a schizophrenia patient named Dan Markingson who died by suicide while enrolled in a drug trial,” the Star Tribune reports. Markingson, who died by suicide in 2004 during his participation in a study for three antipsychotic drugs, “was recruited, while under court commitment order, by a university psychiatrist who was running a study, treating Markingson and advising a judge on the terms of Markingson’s commitment.”
New research published in the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that the use of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and hypnotics during pregnancy is associated with increased health risks to the infant.
Huffington Post and journalist Steve Brill have combined to launch a 15 part series about how Johnson & Johnson illegally violated FDA restrictions by pushing the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, for use with adolescents and the elderly. The series, entitled “America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker,” launched yesterday and will include mixed media, videos, podcasts, source documents, as well as 15 written chapters. Click more for a synopsis of part 1.
New research published in the August issue of Psychiatric Annals evaluates the results of randomized control trials on the use of various psychotropic drugs for patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Despite the “American Psychiatric Association’s practice guidelines endorsement of SSRIs as first-line therapies for BPD,” the results of the meta-analysis reveal that pharmacotherapy in BPD is “not supported by the current literature,” and “should be avoided whenever possible.”
New data on the effects of social support after the onset of psychosis suggests that patients with intense social support function better than those without such help, but than once supports are removed the effects eventually diminish.
Amid growing criticism about the over-prescription of psychotropic medication in foster care, Pennsylvania commissioned PolicyLab to conduct an analysis of the use of psychiatric drugs among all of the state’s Medicaid-enrolled children. The report, released in June, found that the rates of psychotropic prescriptions among youth in Medicaid and foster care are higher than previous estimates.
Antipsychotics are currently the predominant treatment for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, but there is an accumulating body of research that links the use of these drugs to structural abnormalities in the brain. A recent meta-analysis suggests that gray matter loss in the brain may depend on the dose and class of the antipsychotic.
Antipsychotics are being prescribed to people who may have challenging behaviors but no mental disorder, according to new research published in this month’s issue of BMJ. In people without intellectual disability, approximately 50% of prescriptions for antipsychotics are given in the absence of a diagnosis of severe mental illness. According to the new analysis, an even higher proportion (71%) of those with intellectual disabilities receive antipsychotics without such a diagnosis.
"CNN's Carol Costello explores Operation Tohidu, an experimental rehabilitation program to help veterans with PTSD." Operation Tohidu founder, Dr. Mary Vieten claims PTSD is not a mental illness and "there is no reason to medicate someone who has been traumatized by their war experience." When asked what percentage of soldiers returning with PTSD do not need drugs, she responds, "100%."
MedPageToday reports that Janssen Pharmaceuticals omitted data from a 2003 study that connected Risperdal with serious side effects. Earlier this year, a man with autism was awarded $2.5 million after growing breasts while on Risperdal. According to MedPage, documents from this latest case reveal missing data tables from a 2003 study “designed to ferret out potential adverse effects of long-term risperidone use.” The missing tables were related to elevated prolactin levels and side effects, including gynecomastia in men.
An editorial in the Guardian discusses the fact that the number of people with intellectual or learning disabilities “who are being treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds those with mental illness.” The authors of a new study examining the overuse of psychotropic drugs on people with learning disabilities, published this month in BMJ, argue: “If people without mental illness are given psychotropic drugs… it is probably to control their behavior.”
“When people with early-stage symptoms took omega-3 supplements for three months, they had much lower rates of progression than those who did not,” according to research out of Australia covered in this month’s issue of the New Scientist. More →
The majority of children, adolescents and young adults prescribed antipsychotic medications have not been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study, led by Mark Olfson from Columbia University, examined trends in the treatment of young people with antipsychotics in the United States between 2006 and 2010 and raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of prescription practices.
Fox 5 Atlanta featured a back to school story about the growing percentage of preteens and teens being prescribed antipsychotic medication for ADHD. They report: "Nobody, whether you're a mom trying to advocate for your child, or you're a physician trying to decide what's best for the child, nobody wants a child on a medication with long-term side effects that may even affect their development. Nobody wants that. We have to create a system that really digs and looks for other options for these kids."
Medscape Medical News reports on a presentation of findings at the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society 19th International Congress, that showed a doubling and tripling of the risk of dying within 6 months for people with Parkinson's if they were taking antipsychotics. More →
Antipsychotics appear to be too often prescribed to curb aggressive impulses in children and youth, rather than to treat psychosis or any other clinically indicated conditions, according to research published in JAMA Psychiatry. A National Institute of Health press release about the NIH-funded study advised that antipsychotics "should be prescribed with care" because they can "adversely affect both physical and neurological function and some of their adverse effects can persist even after the medication is stopped.” More →
McKnight's reports that, "The push for long-term care facilities to abandon the use of off-label use of antipsychotic medications for residents with dementia will intensify over the next two years, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said." More →
Four different studies conducted in different ways examining different groups have linked use of certain psychiatric drugs, particularly SSRI antidepressants and antipsychotics but also benzodiazepines, to bone fracture risks and negative impacts on human bone development. More →
A team of psychiatrists from Ireland has found that nearly 1% of patients who take the antipsychotic clozapine experience clozapine-induced stuttering. In Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, they also described how to eliminate the problem. More →
Careful reductions in dosage levels of antipsychotic medications over time improved long-term rates of recovery and functional remission in patients diagnosed with a first-episode psychosis, according to a study led by Lex Wunderink reported in a Supplement of European Psychiatry. More →
Like in many other states, foster children in Pennsylvania are being given psychotropic drugs by physicians at rates that are "disturbing" and "unacceptable," according to a press release and new report from the state's Department of Human Services (DHS). The state government also announced its plans to try to rein in the practice. More →
The studies that led to warnings from health regulators against prescribing antipsychotics to elderly patients with dementia were biased, and there is actually no significant increase in risk of death linked to the drugs, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. To arrive at these findings, University of Groningen researchers explained that they focused their analysis on only small, short-term clinical trials with data of generally "poor" quality. More →
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