Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Transition to Psychosis

“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 ScientistMore →

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Majority of Youth Prescribed Antipsychotics Have No Psychiatric Diagnosis

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.

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“Study: Kids with ADHD taking strong drugs with major side effects”

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."

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Antipsychotic Use Linked to Increased Mortality Risk in Parkinson’s

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 →

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Antipsychotics Too Often Used to Dampen Aggression in Kids, Not Treat Psychosis

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 →

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Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Keep Pushing To Reduce Antipsychotic Use In Elderly

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 →

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Slew of New Studies Spot Links Between Psychiatric Medications and Bone Loss, Fractures

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 →

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Clozapine-induced Stuttering Affects 1% Of Patients

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 →

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Antipsychotic Dose Reduction Linked To Long-term Improvements In First-Episode Schizophrenia Patients

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 →

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Pennsylvania Latest State To Try To Curb Psychotropic Prescribing To Foster Children

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 →

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Not an Onion Study: Underpowered Analysis Of Poor Quality Data Finds Antipsychotics Actually Aren’t Linked To Increased Risk Of Death In The Elderly

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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In Ireland, Antipsychotic Drugs Used Extensively On People With Learning Disabilities

"Just over half of people with learning disabilities living in residential centres are being prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs which can be used to control the behaviour of vulnerable residents," reported The Irish Times. More →

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Some Nursing Homes Trying To Move Beyond Antipsychotics

MedPage Today looks at how nursing homes are changing their approaches since the US federal government began more closely regulating the use of antipsychotic medications in elderly patients with dementia. The government is giving homes a grade that becomes part of their overall public Medicare rating. More →

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Not an Onion Study: First Three-month Injectable Antipsychotic Better Than Acute Withdrawal

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever injectable antipsychotic that lasts for three months, according to a press release from the pharmaceutical company Janssen. The approval occurred on the basis of one clinical trial in which the injectable drug prevented relapses more effectively than did placebo. The patients randomly switched to placebo, however, were put into sudden withdrawal from the antipsychotics they'd been taking. More →

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“Why People Take Antipsychotics For Depression”

Buzzfeed looks at the history -- and present -- of how antipsychotic drugs became a common treatment for depression, despite their apparent lack of effectiveness. More →

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Long-acting Injection No Better than Oral Antipsychotic

A study of 5-year outcomes for people taking either an ordinary oral antipsychotic or a long-acting injection of an antipsychotic found no differences between the two. In both groups, over 80% of the participants discontinued use of the drugs, mainly citing bad side effects and lack of efficacy. More →

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Antipsychotics Safe During Pregnancy, After Corrective Algorithm

Women taking antipsychotic medications have a "much higher" likelihood than other women of experiencing many different types of adverse events during pregnancy, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. However, after the researchers applied a "high dimensional propensity score" (HDPS) algorithm to their data, many of those differences disappeared and news media subsequently reported that antipsychotics are "safe" during pregnancy. More →

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Class Action Lawsuit Over Gambling, Sex Addiction Side Effects Settled

An Australian class action lawsuit about Pfizer Parkinson's drugs that caused severe gambling and sex addictions in 172 people has been settled, but delayed by a judge concerned that the plaintiffs were not fully informed of their rights, reported Financial Review. AboutLawsuits.com reported that the antipsychotic Abilify could become a target for similar lawsuits. More →

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Most Preschoolers with ADHD Stay on Meds for Years

About 65% of preschool children who were diagnosed with ADHD and given stimulant drugs were still taking those drugs three and six years later, according to a study in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. About 10% were also being prescribed an antipsychotic. More →

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FDA: Abilify Promotions Are Misleading Physicians and the Public

The US Food and Drug Administration has requested that the drug manufacturer Otsuka "immediately cease" distributing some of its educational materials for its top-selling antipsychotic Abilify. Otsuka's "pharmacology aid" documents suggest that Abilify helps modulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which the FDA called "misleading." More →

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The Once and Future Abilify: Depot Injections for Everyone?

This column is partly a report on the marketing of Abilify, the atypical antipsychotic that has become America’s best-selling drug.   It’s also an appeal for advice and feedback from the RxISK and Mad in America communities, and a call for some brainstorming about strategy.  The plans laid out by drugmakers Otsuka and Lundbeck for Abilify’s future, and the cooperation they’re getting from leading universities, are alarming enough to me that reporting on them seems inadequate.  We need action, although I’m not sure exactly what kind.
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Kudos to Art Levine for Exposing Government Complicity in Illegal Psychiatric Drugging of Children

In a well-researched, comprehensive article in today’s Huffington Post Art Levine has brought to the attention of the mainstream media the government’s complicity in the illegal psychiatric drugging of poor children, especially foster children, through Medicaid.  The article, Feds Pay for Drug Fraud: 92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses is the only mainstream article I know about that has really pressed the federal government over its refusal to enforce Medicaid’s coverage restrictions to “medically accepted indications.”
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How Can Anyone Possibly Not Be Taking Abilify Anymore?

After she researched the drugs on her own, in RxISK Johanna Ryan writes about her long, complex, creative and persistent efforts to avoid following psychiatrists' pressures to take antipsychotics for her depression. More →

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Antipsychotic-induced Sexual Dysfunction Underreported

Most people diagnosed with schizophrenia have the same interest in sex as the general population, but experience higher levels of sexual dysfunction in large part due to antipsychotic medications, according to a review of the literature published in Schizophrenia Bulletin. The researchers found some antipsychotics to be worse than others, and that clinicians rarely discuss sexual issues with patients. More →

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Children on Antipsychotics 50% More Likely to Develop Diabetes

Antipsychotic drugs apparently increase the risk of children developing diabetes by 50%, according to the largest study ever of its kind published in JAMA Pediatrics. If children were also being given antidepressants, their risk for developing diabetes doubled. More →

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