Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Antipsychotic drugs grow more popular

Antipsychotic drugs are the latest fad, and you don't have to have a mental illness to have them prescribed. The Wash. Post reports:
exemplify a trend that alarms medical experts, policymakers and patient advocates: the skyrocketing increase in the off-label use of an expensive class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. Until the past decade these 11 drugs, most approved in the 1990s, had been reserved for the approximately 3 percent of Americans with the most disabling mental illnesses, chiefly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; more recently a few have been approved to treat severe depression.

But these days atypical antipsychotics — the most popular are Seroquel, Zyprexa and Abilify — are being prescribed by psychiatrists and primary-care doctors to treat a panoply of conditions for which they have not been approved, including anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, sleep difficulties, behavioral problems in toddlers and dementia. These new drugs account for more than 90 percent of the market and have eclipsed an older generation of antipsychotics. Two recent reports have found that youths in foster care, some less than a year old, are taking more psychotropic drugs than other children, including those with the severest forms of mental illness.

In 2010 antipsychotic drugs racked up more than $16 billion in sales, according to IMS Health, a firm that tracks drug trends for the health-care industry. For the past three years they have ranked near or at the top of the best-selling classes of drugs, outstripping antidepressants and sometimes cholesterol medicines.
It is all about money. Or control. Or evil. I'm still not sure.


Anonymous said...

what's the difference? stems from the same set of impulses, it's a basic part of human nature for many.

George said...

It doesn't make a big difference to me. I would like to shut them down regardless of the source of their corruption. But it does make a difference to others who want to reform the system.