Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Experts Decry Dangerous Use of Antipsychotics in Children

In a featured article for Psychiatric Services, psychiatrists from Dartmouth raise the alarm on the increasing numbers of children prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. Despite the fact that data on the safety of long-term use of these drugs in this vulnerable population “do not exist,” the rate of children and adolescents being prescribed antipsychotic drugs have continued to increase over the past fifteen years.

Researchers Test Harms and Benefits of Long Term Antipsychotic Use

Researchers from the City College of New York and Columbia University published a study this month testing the hypothesis that people diagnosed with schizophrenia treated long-term with antipsychotic drugs have worse outcomes than patients with no exposure to these drugs. They concluded that there is not a sufficient evidence base for the standard practice of long-term use of antipsychotic medications.

Identifying Psychiatric Drugs Leading to Emergency Room Visits

More than ten-percent of adults in the United States are currently prescribed at least one psychiatric medication but there is currently a lack of research on the prevalence of adverse drug events (ADEs) associated with these prescriptions outside of clinical trials.

Still Mistreating the Elderly with Psychiatric Drugs: Antipsychotics

The percentage of seniors in the United States prescribed potentially deadly antipsychotic drugs increases with age. A new study reveals that in the face of serious risks of strokes, fractures, kidney injuries, and death, over seventy-five percent of seniors given antipsychotics do not have a diagnosis for a mental disorder.

Landmark Schizophrenia Study Recommends More Therapy

Results of a large government-funded study call into question current drug heavy approaches to treating people diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study, which the New York Times called “by far the most rigorous trial to date conducted in the United States,” found that patients who received smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs with individual talk therapy, family training, and support for employment and education had a greater reduction in symptoms as well as increases in quality of life, and participation in work and school than those receiving the current standard of care.

Infants Exposed to Psychotropic Drugs During Pregnancy At Risk

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.

Drug Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder Not Supported By Evidence

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.”

Meta-Analysis Ties Gray Matter Loss to Antipsychotic Dose

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 Prescribed Off-Label for Challenging Behaviors

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. “Excessive use of psychotropic drugs has individual and systemic implications,” the researchers write. “Antipsychotics, in particular, are associated with several adverse side effects that can impair quality of life and lead to deleterious health outcomes.”

“Antipsychotic Use in Youth Without Psychosis: A Double-edged Sword”

This month’s issue of JAMA Psychiatry ran an editorial commenting on recent research revealing that the majority of youth prescribed antipsychotics have not been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

“Janssen Accused of Withholding Data on Risperdal Side Effect in Autism”

MedPageToday reports that Janssen Pharmaceuticals omitted data from a 2003 study that connected Risperdal with serious side effects. Janssen was previously sued by the FDA for marketing Risperdal for off-label uses and settled for $2.2 billion in 2013. 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.

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.

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 to bone fracture risks and negative impacts on human bone development.

Clozapine-induced Stuttering Affects 1% Of Patients

A team of psychiatrists reviewed 654 cases in West Ireland to find that nearly 1% of all patients taking the antipsychotic clozapine had experienced clozapine-induced stuttering.

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.

Psychotropics Linked to Worse Physical Problems and Mortality in Psychiatric Patients

Common psychotropic medications may be contributing to the higher rates of physical illnesses and mortality in people diagnosed with mental illnesses.

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.

Antipsychotic-induced Sexual Dysfunction Underreported

Researchers found some antipsychotics to be worse than others for causing sexual dysfunction.

Children on Antipsychotics 50% More Likely to Develop Diabetes

Antipsychotic drugs increased the risk of children developing diabetes by 50%, and with an antidepressant added, their risk doubled.

Psychotropics During Pregnancy Raise Risk of Babies with Low Birth Weight, Hospitalizations

The use by mothers of any of four major classes of psychiatric medications during pregnancy significantly raises the risk that their babies will be born with low birth weights and will need to be hospitalized.

Antipsychotics Even Riskier For The Elderly Than Previously Thought

Antipsychotic medications that are commonly being used to help control behaviors in elderly people with dementia seem to be causing premature deaths at high rates.

Antipsychotic Use in Nursing Homes Causing Many Adverse Effects in Elderly

A literature review found that the extensive off-label use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes is causing many adverse effects and providing limited benefits.

Inappropriate Antipsychotic Prescriptions to Children Keep Increasing

Clinicians are following best practice guidelines only half of the time when giving antipsychotic medications to children, and following FDA-approved indications only one-fourth of the time.

Patients Complain about Antipsychotic Medications Inducing “Zombie-like” State

People who take antipsychotic medications experience many side effects which have "major disruptive impact on their lives," according to research in the Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Antipsychotics Again Strongly Linked to Falls and Fractures

Three independent studies in two journals reported strong links between antipsychotics and falls and fractures.

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