Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Medicine: Antipsychotic usage in kids quintuples from 1993 to 2002

Articles like this are given alarmist headlines, which entirely obscures the legitimate debate that should accompany them, and to which is only vaguely alluded throughout the text. Of course antipsychotic prescriptions have gone up with the atypicals. When you have a better hammer, it makes sense to try to hit nails that you might not have tried before. The article certainly implies that drug profits and marketing, rather than advances in the field, account for increased usage of atypicals.

Bottomline: hell yes, we should be careful about giving kids mind-blasting drugs without good research as to their long term effects or even efficacy. but hell no, we shouldn't apologize for the cases in which children who would otherwise be sneaking into their younger brother's crib with a butcher knife are made safer with the use of drugs.

It's pretty sick that the final quote of the article comes with a bone to pick:

"If you're going to put children on three or four different drugs, now you've got a potpourri of target symptoms and side effects," said Dr. Julie Magno Zito, an associate professor of pharmacy and medicine at the University of Maryland. She added, "How do you even know who the kid is anymore?"
Well, apparently when we knew who the kids were, we were scared for our lives. I'm not sure if she was really linking polypharmacy specifically, which isn't going anywhere in the land of psych med augmentation, to zonking kids out, or if that was just the spoon-bending of the article author, but the old "I want my kid to be my kid" adage is worn out (even if it's certainly valid if care is not given appropriately--but we're, presumably, not talking about bad care here.)

I don't want to undermine a good debate, and obviously kids need drug-cautious advocates to make sure that kids are given their best shot at developing in a healthy matter. But alarmist prosetylizers don't add any more to the debate than do profit-hungry drug companies.


Danny Haszard said...

Well said,i applaud your blog, mental health consumers are the least capable of self advocacy,my doctors made me take zyprexa for 4 years which was ineffective for my symptoms.I now have a victims support page against Eli Lilly for it's Zyprexa product causing my diabetes.--Daniel Haszard www.zyprexa-victims.com

: Joseph j7uy5 said...

Funny thing about that first comment. I've gotten the exact same comment on two on my posts.

It is true that people can act differently when they take antipsychotic medication. Sometimes, that is why the medications are given.

It is also true that sometimes medications are used when the problems might be managed with psychosocial interventions: smaller class sizes, better schools, different home enviroments, etc. But what can you do if those services are not avaiable?

You're right, there are a lot of valid points to debate here, but the article does none of that.