Friday, December 02, 2011

Drugging Foster Youth - Influence of Pharmaceutical Companies

Quotes from Time Magazine article: Szalavitz, Maia. Why Are So Many Foster Care Children Taking Antipsychotics?Time Magazine, November 29, 2011 .
  • "The influence of pharmaceutical company marketing cannot be overlooked. Ninety-nine percent of youth receiving anti-psychotic medications in the study were given atypical anti-psychotics — the newer generation of these drugs, which are expensive and mostly unavailable in generic form and have been heavily advertised .
  • "All of the major manufacturers of these drugs have been fined by the Food and Drug Administration for illegal marketing practices — in part, for marketing the drugs for unapproved use in children — with some convicted of criminal charges.
  • " The main condition that antipsychotics are approved to treat —schizophrenia — is extremely rare in children . The rate of schizophrenia in children under 12 is an estimated 2 cases per 1 million children; it affects fewer than 1% of older teens. Anti-psychotics are also approved to treat bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that is highly controversial in children . Some studies suggest that it affects 0.2% to 0.4 % of children, and up to 1% of adolescents.
  • And yet, between 1994 and 2003, rates of bipolar diagnoses in youth under 19 rose by a factor of more than 40, according to the National Institute on Mental Health. It seems unlikely to be a coincidence that this rise occurred during the period when atypical anti-psychotics were being illegally marketed for children ."
  • "Indeed, most of the anti-psychotics used in foster-care youth were for conditions that the drugs were not approved to treat . Fifty-three percent of prescriptions were written for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that is ordinarily managed with drugs that have the opposite pharmacological effects as anti-psychotics. The stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin, widely used for ADHD, tend to increase levels of dopamine, while anti-psychotics tend to decrease it."      

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