antipsychotic drugs

  1. Off-label nausea meds linked to clot risk

    A doc would have to be psychotic himself to offer powerful antipsychotic drugs for common conditions like nausea... yet it happens nearly every single day.

    And now, a new study shows just what's on the line when people take these dangerous meds: their lives.

    Researchers have found that atypical antipsychotics -- designed for conditions like schizophrenia but dished out daily for far more minor complaints like nausea -- come with a dramatically higher risk of dangerous and even deadly blood clots.

    The researchers compared data on 25,532 patients who suffered either deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism between 1996 and 2007 to 89,491 people without either condition, and found that antipsychotic use overall upped the clot risk by nearly a third.

    Think that's bad? That's actually the most positive number they found.

    Users of the newer meds, atypical antipsychotics, had a 73 percent increase in clot risk... and one of them in particular, Seroquel, nearly quadrupled the risk.

    That's the drug routinely given to returning U.S. soldiers to fight post-traumatic stress disorders -- and at least some of those soldiers have died suddenly after getting their meds.

    Now there's a way to thank a soldier.

    The study in BMJ Online First found that the greatest danger is in the first few months. But I'd say the biggest danger is in having a doc who would even consider these meds at all.

    In addition to the increased stroke risk, atypical antipsychotics can cause weight gain, diabetes, and muscle problems. Roughly 5 percent of the people who take these meds -- nothing to sneeze at -- develop involuntary and often permanent muscle movements, especially around the mouth.

    Of course, the experts are spewing all the usual claptrap about how the overall risks are small -- but you'd have to be nuts to want to take any risk when you don't have to.

    These conditions almost always have other answers. If your doc isn't interested in finding them, find a new doc instead.

  2. Bigger isn't better when it comes to drug doses

    They just don't get it, do they?

    The feds have a little problem they created -- a monster called donepezil, sold as Aricept, and given to Alzheimer's patients.

    The problem: The drug doesn't work very well... and the feds even admit that much. It never should have been approved in the first place, because studies show no real improvement in global function, no decrease in the risk of institutionalization, and no long-term benefits.

    So how do you top that? Give people more of it!

    The feds approved a higher dose of Aricept on the basis of a company-funded study that found the bigger dose might improve cognition in some patients. On the other hand, it had no benefit over the smaller dose in regular functioning.

    Let me tell you what's really going on here: This drug loses its patent protection in November, and the Japanese company that makes it expects to lose billions of dollars. Pfizer, which markets the drug in the U.S. and Europe, could also lose big money.

    But the new formula will automatically get three years of patent protection, allowing the companies a chance to recover some of that money.

    See? Once again this isn't about giving people a needed remedy at a fair price. It's about grabbing as much cash while it's there to be grabbed.

    Facts are facts: This drug does very little for most Alzheimer's patients, and comes with some terrifying risks -- from physical illnesses such as nausea and vomiting to mental ones, like delusions and irritability.

    Other drugs used for dementia are as bad or even worse. Studies have even found that antipsychotic drugs commonly given to dementia patients send many seniors right to the grave.

    And if you think watching a loved one die is bad, try dealing with the guilt of knowing that your drug choices may have played a role.

  3. Dangerous drugs OK'd for kids

    The two faces of the FDA strike again – and this time, millions of American children are at risk.
  4. Antipsychotic drug could be killing people

    A new study has linked the use of "atypical" antipsychotic drugs to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
  5. Antipsychotic drugs make dementia patients worse

    A 2006 study of Alzheimer's patients found that antipsychotic drugs provided no significant improvement over placebos in treating the delusions and aggression that accompanies that disease.

5 Item(s)