Monday, December 31, 2007

Serbia's appalling mental health crisis

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/world/europe/14serbia.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

BRUSSELS, Nov. 13 — A 21-year-old man with Down syndrome tied to a metal crib for 11 years. Children, naked from the waist down, left to eat and defecate in their beds. A 7-year-old girl with fluid in her brain left untreated “because she will die anyway.”

Marc Schneider/Mental Disability Rights International

A dehydrated girl is tied to a crib at an institution in Kulina. A group says such problems could have been prevented.

These are some of the allegations of abuse at Serbian state mental institutions and orphanages described in a report to be released Wednesday by Mental Disability Rights International, a group based in Washington that spent four years investigating the treatment of some of the 17,200 children and adults with disabilities in institutions in Serbia.

Child Psych Screening Criticism

On Dec. 27, the Boston Globe ran a story about how Massachusetts plans to do mental screening on children.  The new requirement applies to the 460,000 children and young adults covered by state's Medicaid program.   Below are some responses to the article:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2007/12/31/screening_brings_labeling_drugs/
Boston Globe
Screening brings labeling, drugs
December 31, 2007
AS A psychiatrist since 1947, I am appalled that mental health screening is now being required of Massachusetts children on Medicaid ("Mental screening for young to begin," Page A1, Dec. 27). Such screening greatly exaggerates the significance of the normal variations in psychological state.

Normal kids will therefore be labeled "sick" and referred for "treatment." That labeling is often harmful in itself; once tagged, how does a kid prove he's not mentally ill?

In some middle-class families, treatment may be individual or family counseling. Whether it helps or is merely wasteful, it usually causes relatively little harm. For Medicaid kids, however, treatment will almost always involve powerful drugs whose serious side effects can include the stunting of growth. Mental health screening is thus a harmful invasion of the privacy of Medicaid youngsters.

Dr. NATHANIEL S. LEHRMAN
Roslyn, N.Y.



http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2007/12/31/a_needless_strain_on_health_dollars/
Boston Globe
A needless strain on health dollars

December 31, 2007
WITH ALL of the strain Medicaid has been reported to suffer already - and health coverage in Massachusetts and in other states in general - what makes mental health screening a good idea?

An almost automatic $4.5-million hit - if anyone bothered to do the math - for a written questionnaire? To ask if your toddler has been fussy? If your teenager has been emotional? Duh.

And this is going to be a yearly thing. Add to that the prescriptions that will inevitably come, and the doctor followups, oh geesh Wouldn't that money be better spent on schools? That could be more than 100 teachers' salaries.

COURTENAY DODDS
Exeter, N.H.


 
 
Massachusetts Takes Wrong Turn On Mental Health Screening
12/30/07
By Tony Zizza .
 

A recent news article by Carey Goldberg in the Boston Globe newspaper ought to have Massachusetts parents fuming mad. In fact, parents nationwide need to be on the alert as well. The long and stretched out arms of psychiatry are poised to put a choke-hold on your children.

Think I am kidding? Think again. In Carey Goldberg's December 27th article, ("Mental screening for young to begin: Mass. doctors to offer questionnaires for children on Medicaid"), we find out that on December 31st, "Annual checkups for the nearly half a million Massachusetts children on Medicaid will carry a new requirement: Doctors must offer simple questionnaires to detect warning signs of possible mental health problems, from autism in toddlers to depression in teens."

This is scary stuff. Pay close attention to this part again, "from autism in toddlers to depression in teens." Perhaps I am paranoid, but I believe a Brave New World is here. Psychiatry just had an incredible cash cow handed to them on a silver platter through the force of government. That is, Massachusetts taxpayers fund Medicaid. In turn, Massachusetts taxpayers are supporting through no choice of their own the inevitable drugging of children.

Instead, we twist things to try and justify forced drugging and the destruction of informed consent by throwing around subjective "national estimates" that Carey Goldberg included in his article that attempt to show "about 10 percent of children have some sort of significant psycho-social problem from hyperactivity to anxiety to stress from living amid domestic violence." Again, it appears children and young adults in Massachusetts, and nationwide, can no longer experience any kind of feeling or thought or deep reflection without it being subjected to a mental health screening or antidepressant psychiatric drug. This isn't medicine. It's medicine gone mad.

Massachusetts has taken a wrong turn here on mental health screening. Cute code words and catch phrases don't cut it. Lisa Lambert, executive director of the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, falsely compares the screening of children and young adults for mental illness to that of acting as a "check engine light" for parents to gauge if their children have any problems. I'm sorry, growing up is a little more complicated than this. On the other hand, mental health screening sets off alarms when no alarm needs to be sounded.

It's time for parents all over this country to get in the front seat when it comes to parenting their children and young adults. I find it hard to believe a subjective mental health "questionnaire" can serve somehow as a substitute parent. Something is seriously wrong when 460,000 Massachusetts children and young adults wake up one morning to find out that they must now submit to a subjective mental health screening at their next annual checkup.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Essay: The nonsense of "chemical imbalance"

Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and
the Scientific Literature

Link:

http://medicine.plosjournals.org/archive/1549-1676/2/12/pdf/10.1371_jour
nal.pmed.0020392-S.pdf

More on the "Chemical Imbalance" nonsense

 
 
In June of 2005 Tom Cruise shook the world with his statements about "chemical imbalance" on the Today Show with Matt Laurer. 
Since that time Florida researchers have investigated the pharmaceutical / psychiatric claims of "chemical imbalance" and recently a study was released which you can find here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/u37j12152n826q60/fulltext.pdf  entitled
"The Media and the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression"
 
The researchers examined media reports referring to this chemical imbalance theory and asked reporters for evidence supporting their claims. Responses were received from multiple sources, including practicing psychiatrists, clients, and a major pharmaceutical company. The evidence offered was not compelling, and some sources flatly stated the proposed theory of imbalance was known to be incorrect.
 
VIDEO:  These Florida researchers discuss their earlier findings of "chemical imbalance" on Tampa Bay's Fox 13,  Kathy Fountain show: 
 

"There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance"

This academic paper proves it:

In an earlier paper, we pointed out that to our knowledge; there is not a single peer-reviewed article that can accurately be cited to directly support claims of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder. Based on our dialogue with the mainstream media, there appears to be no reason to alter  this claim. In an effort to continue this conversation, we welcome any replies to the question: What is the evidence that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance?

Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/u37j12152n826q60/fulltext.pdf

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Counselor cited for phony billing in affair with ex-patient

Counselor cited for phony billing in affair with ex-patient
BJOE VANHOOSE
STAR-BANNER
Dec. 12, 2007

OCALA -- The Florida Department of Health has disciplined an Ocala mental health counselor accused of phony billing designed to hide an extramarital affair with a former patient.

His wife - now his former wife - kept the books.

Michael Kean Weaver, 52, was reprimanded on Nov. 19 by the State Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling. He currently practices at Rapha Counseling Center in Ocala.

His alleged actions violated a state law prohibiting "misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of mental health counseling."

He was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $3,368 in costs and complete 12 hours of ethics classes.

According to the administrative complaint, Weaver had a physical relationship with a former patient from July 2002 through March 2004. Weaver had counseled the patient from June 1997 to April 2000.

To keep his wife from finding out about the affair, Weaver created billing records that indicated the patient received treatment through March 2004, according to the complaint.

In a settlement signed Sept. 12, Weaver acknowledged probable cause for the case against him but did not accept or deny the allegations. He could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.   

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Crimes In U.S. Nursing Homes

         

Prescription Abuse Seen In U.S. Nursing Homes

Powerful Antipsychotics Used to Subdue Elderly; Huge Medicaid Expense

By LUCETTE LAGNADO
December 4, 2007; Page A1

In recent years, Medicaid has spent more money on antipsychotic drugs for Americans than on any other class of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, AIDS drugs or medicine to treat high-blood pressure.

One reason: Nursing homes across the U.S. are giving these drugs to elderly patients to quiet symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Nearly 30% of the total nursing-home population is receiving antipsychotic drugs, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS. In a practice known as "off label" use of prescription drugs, patients can get these powerful medicines whether they are psychotic or not. CMS says nearly 21% of nursing-home patients who don't have a psychosis diagnosis are on antipsychotic drugs.

That is what happened to a woman listed in New York state health department inspection records as Resident #18. The 84-year-old Alzheimer's patient, who lives at the Orchard Manor nursing home in Medina, N.Y., likes to wander and roll her wheelchair around her unit, according to a report filed earlier this year, and sometimes she nervously taps her foot.

To address her behavior, which was considered disruptive, Resident #18 was given a powerful antipsychotic drug called Seroquel, a drug approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Resident #18 is not psychotic and Seroquel -- like other atypical antipsychotics -- carries a "black box" warning that elderly dementia patients using it face a higher risk of death.

"She is a handful," says Thomas Morien, administrator of Orchard Manor. "Other residents complain about her because often at night, she will get up and go to their rooms." The patient has since been taken off the drugs.

The growing off-label use of antipsychotic medicines in the elderly is coming under fire from regulators, academics, patient advocates and even some in the nursing-home industry.

"You walk into facilities where you see residents slumped over in their wheelchairs, their heads are hanging, and they're out of it, and that is unacceptable," says Christie Teigland, director of informatics research for the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, a not-for-profit industry group. Her research, which she believes reflects national trends, shows that about one-third of dementia patients in New York's nursing homes are on antipsychotics; some facilities have rates as high as 60% to 70%. "These drugs are being given way too much to this frail elderly population," Dr. Teigland says.

More here:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119672919018312521.html?mod=hpp_us_editors_picks

Omaha Shooter Robert Hawkins Had Been "Treated" For ADHD

http://www.newstarget.com/022330.html

Omaha Shooter Robert Hawkins Had Been "Treated" For ADHD, Depression
Thursday, December 06, 2007 by: Mike Adams

(NewsTarget) America seems shocked that, yet again, a young male would
pick up an assault rifle and murder his fellow citizens, then take his
own life. This is what happened last night in Omaha, Nebraska, where the
19-year-old Hawkins killed himself and eight other people with an
assault rifle. Those lacking keen observation skills are quick to blame
guns for this tragedy, but others who are familiar with the history of
such violent acts by young males instantly recognize a more sinister
connection: A history of treatment with psychiatric drugs for depression
and ADHD.

It all started in Columbine, Colorado, when Eric Harris and Dylan
Klebold massacred their way into the history books on April 20, 1999 by
killing 12 and wounding 23 people. The mainstream media virtually
glorified the event, yet utterly failed to report the connection between
violence in young men and treatment with psychiatric drugs.
(Both Harris and Klebold were taking antidepressant drugs.)

It's a little known fact that antidepressant drugs have never been
tested on children nor approved by the FDA for use on children. It is
well established in the scientific literature, however, that such drugs
cause young men to think violent thoughts and commit violent acts. This
is precisely why the U.K. has outright banned the prescribing of such
drugs to children. Yet here in the United States
-- the capitol of gun violence by kids on depression drugs -- the FDA
and drug companies pretend that mind-altering drugs have no link
whatsoever to behavior.

Enormous evidence linking mind-altering drugs with violent acts In 2005,
I reported on this site that Eli Lilly had full knowledge of a 1200%
increase in suicide risk for takers of their Prozac drug, a popular
anti-depressant SSRI medication. (See
http://www.newstarget.com/003086.html
)

In 2006, we reported the results of a study published in the Archives of
General Psychiatry showing that teens taking antidepressant drugs are
more likely to commit suicide (and to be "successful" at completing the
act). See http://www.newstarget.com/020643.html

On September 11, 2006, I reported on the link between antidepressant
drugs and violent behavior yet again. (See
http://www.newstarget.com/020394.html
) In that article, I explained, "If you're going to alter the brain
chemistry of these children, you had better be prepared for the results.
The result we're seeing now is mass killings. Elsewhere around the
world, where children aren't doped up on all these drugs, we don't see
this kind of behavior. This is what happens when you change children's
brain chemistry; you get these results..."

The very next day, we published a report about the anti-depressant drug
Paxil doubling the risk of violent behavior. (See
http://www.newstarget.com/020406.html ) In that article, I stated, "This
finding helps explain why school shootings are almost always conducted
by children who are taking antidepressants. We also know that SSRIs
cause children to disconnect from reality. When you combine that with a
propensity for violence, you create a dangerous recipe for school
shootings and other adolescent violence.

In April of this year, I also reported on the link between
antidepressant drugs and the Virginia Tech shooting. See
http://www.newstarget.com/021798.html

What I said in that article has urgent application right now, following
the Omaha shooting:

A study published in the Public Library of Science Medicine (an open
source medical journal) explored these same links in detail. (See
Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and
Law, by David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer, David B. Menkes)

The authors note that "Some regulators, such as the Canadian regulators,
have also referred to risks of treatment-induced activation leading to
both self-harm and harm to others" and the "United States labels for all
antidepressants as of August 2004 note that 'anxiety, agitation, panic
attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity,
akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been
reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with
antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other
indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric'".

In other words, the link between antidepressants and violence has been
known for years by the very people manufacturing, marketing or
prescribing the drugs. As the author of the study mentioned above
concluded, "The new issues highlighted by these cases need urgent
examination jointly by jurists and psychiatrists in all countries where
antidepressants are widely used."

That was last year, well before this latest shooting. The warning signs
were there, and they've been visible for a long time. Medical
authorities can hardly say they are "shocked" by this violent behavior.
After all, the same pattern of violence among antidepressant takers has
been observed, documented and published in numerous previous cases.

Not surprised at what happened in Omaha
The people of Omaha may be surprised at what happened there yesterday,
but I'm not. Why? Because the shooter, Robert Hawkins, had a history of
being "treated" for both depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder). (Source: Associated Press)

And what is the standard American psychiatric "treatment" for these
conditions? Mind-altering drugs, of course.

ADHD, for example, is treated with a drug that used to be an illegal
street drug called "speed." It's an amphetamine, and recent research
published in the August, 2007 issue of the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry reveals that Ritalin and other ADHD drugs actually
stunt the growth of children, causing their brains and bodies to be
physically altered. (See http://www.newstarget.com/021944.html )

Depression, of course, is treated with SSRI drugs, none of which have
ever been safety approved by the FDA for use on children or teens. In
other words, the use of these drugs on teenagers is a grand, mind-
altering medical experiment, and what we just witnessed in Omaha is one
result of that experiment.

There will be more. I hate to be accurate about this grisly prediction,
because I grieve for the families of those lost to
pharmaceutically-induced violence, but the truth is that until we stop
drugging our children with psychotropic drugs, the shootings are not
going to stop.

Big Pharma is to blame for this one, not the manufacturer of the gun.
That gun has a trigger, you see, and the trigger was pulled by a finger.
The finger was connected via a series of nerves to a brain, and that
brain was altered by psychotropic drugs. The brain wasn't functioning
like a normal, healthy, well-nourished brain; it was functioning like a
zoned out "zombie" brain permanently distorted by psychiatric drugs.

Sending a teenager out into the public doped up on mind-altering drugs
that we KNOW are linked to violence -- and jacked up on junk foods (he
worked at McDonald's) -- is a certain recipe for disaster. Big Pharma
executives, drug reps and the irresponsible psychiatrists who dish these
pills out to teenagers might as well have just walked right into the
mall and set off a bomb themselves. These are the people ultimately
responsible for the tragedy in Omaha. Hawkins may have pulled the
trigger, but modern psychiatry drugged him with violence- inducing
chemicals. The fact that such drugs promote violence isn't even
disputed. It's printed right on the warning labels of those drugs!

And as sad as this tragedy is for all those affected by this
medication-induced violence, the truly sad part is that America still
hasn't learned this lesson. If you drug the children with chemicals that
cause violence, you're going to see more shootings. It's as simple as
that. And if you take away the guns, you'll see bombs, knives or
machetes used in these attacks. When disturbed young boys are doped up
on psychotropic drugs that promote violence -- and they're drugged by
the hundreds of thousands -- it's like playing a national game of
Russian roulette (with apologies to Russia). Sooner or later, another
kid whose mind has been altered by Ritalin, Prozac or some other drug is
going to walk into yet another school or mall and start killing people.
This kind of behavior is a direct product of chemical-based psychiatric
"treatment."


The criminals running modern psychiatry
In fact, I predict we'll see another such shooting in the next 30 days,
if not sooner. And yet, even with the increasing frequency of these
events, the unholy alliance between Big Pharma and the immensely evil
psychiatric industry will continue. Yet more children will be put on
mind-altering drugs that stunt their growth, alter their brain
chemistry, and turn them into mind-numbed massacre drones who acquire
dangerous weapons and open fire in public places.

The psychiatric industry, though, thinks that yet MORE children need
"treatment" with drugs for ADHD and depression. In fact, an industry
press release recently claimed that only one-third of those children
"suffering" from ADHD are receiving appropriate "treatment" for the
condition. Of course, those are just code words for "drugging the
children with high-profit pharmaceuticals." When the psychiatric
authorities say "treatment," what they mean is "more drugging."

Want to learn the horrifying, yet true, history of modern psychiatry?
Check out www.CCHR.org - the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights.
They have a documentary so downright shocking that I couldn't even
finish watching the whole thing. It's called Psychiatry: An Industry of
Death.

Also be sure to check out the shocking book by Kelly Patricia O'Meara
called Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills
That Kill. This book explains exactly why kids like Robert Hawkins who
have been treated with psychiatric drugs end up shooting innocents.


What could have healed Robert Hawkins and saved lives So what's the
solution to all this? Robert Hawkins could have been healed with a
radical change in diet that supports healthy brain chemistry. His
parents or caretakers should have stopped the junk food, ended the
medication and put him on raw, living foods and daily superfood
smoothies, fresh vegetable juices, raw nuts and seeds and other
wholesome, non-processed foods. Nutrition is the single most powerful
factor determining healthy moods and behavior, and virtually all young
men who commit violent acts (including the vast majority of those
imprisoned in the U.S. today) suffer from wild nutritional deficiencies.

Robert Hawkins could have been a healthy, stable and normal kid with the
help of some real food, real nutrition and real love from a supporting
family. Instead, he lived on junk food, worked at McDonald's and took
medication pills as directed by his psychiatric doctor. The results
speak for themselves: This recipe of processed food and mind-altering
drugs created a monster, and yesterday in Omaha, that monster exploded
in a rage of violence.

If we don't learn from all this and stop drugging our nation's children,
then those innocents in Omaha will have died in vain. And I ask the
question: How many more innocent Americans must pay the price for
medication-induced violence?

Ask yourself one question: Why does the FDA continue to allow these
dangerous drugs to be prescribed to children and teens when 1) They have
never been tested on children or teens, and 2) Other countries have
already banned the prescribing of these drugs to children and teens?

Story Notes: The Associated Press originally reported Hawkins' age as 20
years old, but corrected it to 19 years old following a correction by
local police. Hawkins was not reported to have been taking medications
at the precise time of the shooting, but his caretaker, Debora
Maruca-Kovac, said that "he had been treated in the past for depression
and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder." We do not know exactly
which drugs Hawkins had been treated with in the past, and we hope the
names of those drugs will surface in future reports on this tragedy.

NewsTarget deeply regrets the loss of life witnessed in this event, and
we commit to doing our part to end these medication-induced crimes that
continue to be perpetrated by Big Pharma and modern psychiatry. You have
permission to forward or reprint this article, with appropriate credit
and a link back to this URL.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Florida Psychs in Hot Water and a U.S. Senator Investigating Psych Drugs in Nursing Homes

Indian River County Psychiatrist to pay fine
By James Kirley
December 6, 2007
Vero Beach, Florida

Dr. Joseph Altieri, a Vero Beach psychiatrist, has agreed to pay a $15,000 administrative fine and perform 100 hours of community service to resolve a complaint brought by the Florida Department of Health last fall.

It claimed Altieri had prescribed "a constantly changing cocktail of drugs" that included methadone, Zoloft and Xanax to a 29-year-old man with a history of problems with pain pills.

Another part of the same complaint alleged Altieri prescribed the narcotic OxyContin to a 47-year-old woman with "unsubstantiated chronic pain" and a history of heroin and methadone addictions.

Both the unidentified man and woman were terminated as patients by Altieri for missing appointments and "noncompliance," the state's complaint noted.

Phone calls to Altieri's office Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment were not returned.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale therapist charged with Medicaid fraud
December 6, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE - Authorities arrested a therapist at her Fort Lauderdale home Thursday morning for falsifying more than $6,000 worth of claims to Medicaid, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Jennifer Baxt, 34, is being held at the Broward County jail and faces a charge of grand theft.

Baxt was a contract employee for South Florida Family Centers Inc. in Tamarac. She was a licensed marriage and family health therapist and a licensed mental health counselor, according to documents.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated Baxt after a mother told them that Baxt had sought reimbursement from Medicaid for behavior therapy that the woman's child did not receive, according to court documents.

Investigators discovered that between August and October in 2006, Baxt scheduled 71 appointments at the homes of 11 patients with developmental disabilities, but only arrived at seven sessions. Baxt still claimed financial compensation from Medicaid and even made up visit summaries and forged patient signatures, investigators said.

She could get up to five years in prison and fined $5,000 on top of restitution to the Medicaid program, according to officials.
Pharmalot
Grassley: Review Antipsychotics In Nursing Homes
December 6th, 2007
By Ed Silverman

The Republican from Iowa and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee is turning his sights to nursing homes. After reading how antipsychotics are overprescribed and Medicaid picks up the tab, Chuck wants the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate patient safety, taxpayer liability and off-label usage.

“Along with overall quality of care provided to a nursing home resident, it’s of tremendous concern that federal programs are paying for prescription drugs that could be unnecessary or potentially harmful for people living in nursing homes,” Grassley says in a statement. “Independent scrutiny needs to be given to the prescribing practices going on with this very vulnerable population and what’s motivating those practices.”

Grassley has also asked the federal agency that oversees nursing home quality to report on its response to nursing homes that misuse prescription drugs, and he has asked Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, which sell Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa, respectively, for info about their marketing efforts with regard to nursing home residents. Grassley was responding to a story in The Wall Street Journal, although The St. Petersburg Times ran a similar piece recently, as well.  

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

flu drugs in children

FDA Ponders Psychiatric Warning for Common Flu Drugs

An FDA staff report recommends adding label warnings about possible neuropsychiatric side effects in individuals taking the influenza drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).

The report was prepared for a meeting of the Pediatric Advisory Committee to take place this week. The FDA found 596 cases of neuropsychiatric events associated with oseltamivir and 115 with zanamivir. The cases, mostly in people age 21 or younger and mostly from Japan, included delirium, hallucinations, and impulsive behavior, including a desire to jump. Five fatalities were associated with oseltamivir use while none were associated with zanamvir.

The agency cautioned it could not rule out the possibility that the behavior was due to the illness rather than the treatment. However, the reports "raise the question" of whether the events result from the neuraminidase inhibitor class. It said "it seems prudent" for both drugs to carry label warnings of hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior.

Glaxo and Roche, which make the two drugs, said label updates are unnecessary, because the events could have resulted from flu symptoms.

Link(s):
FDA staff report (Free PDF) http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/07/briefing/2007-4325b_02_04_Tamiflu%20Adverse%20Event%20Review%202007.pdf
Bloomberg News story (Free) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/business/24drug.html?ref=business
GlaxoSmithKline response (Free PDF) http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/07/briefing/2007-4325b_02_16_Sponsor%20Background%20Package%20GSK.pdf
Hoffman-LaRoche response (Free PDF) http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/07/briefing/2007-4325b_02_15_Sponsor%20Background%20Package%20Roche.pdf

Drugs Are Not the Answer for ADHD - Articles

 
 
Drugs Are Not the Answer for ADHD

Research has shown that treating children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with drugs is not effective in the long-term. After three years of treatment, drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta work no better than therapy.

Long-term use of the drugs can also stunt children's growth, and the benefits of the drugs have been exaggerated.

An influential 1999 study seemed to find that medication worked better than behavioral therapy for ADHD after one year of use. This finding caused a vast increase in prescriptions.

But now, after longer-term analysis, the report's co-author, Professor William Pelham of the University of Buffalo, has stated, "I think that we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication in the first study. We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn't happen to be the case. There's no indication that medication is better than nothing in the long run."

Pelham said that medication had "no beneficial effects" and that in fact, the drugs had a negative impact in terms of growth rate.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence in England is currently revising their treatment guidelines for ADHD to include strategies that will likely involve training for parents as well as "behavioral interventions".

"The important thing is that we have an approach which doesn't focus just on one type of treatment," Dr. Tim Kendall, chair for the working group, said.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eleven States have now Sued Antipsychotic Makers - More Lawsuits to Come

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel claims that Janssen engaged in a direct, illegal, nationwide program of promotion of the use of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal for non-medically necessary uses. McDaniel accused the companies of deceptive marketing practices that pushed doctors to prescribe Risperdal much more than necessary. The lawsuit also accuses drugmakers of not including warnings on Risperdal's bottle about adverse effects such as neurological problems, weight gain and diabetes.

For articles and lawsuits on all the state lawsuits filed so far, see here: www.psychsearch.net/lawsuits.html

9 states have sued Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa  - Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania,  South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
 states have sued Janssen regarding Risperdal  - Arkansas, Louisiana,  South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvana
2 states have sued AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel  - Pennsylvania, South Carolina 

Arkansas AG Suing JNJ Over Anti-Psychotic Drug Marketing

LITTLE ROCK (AP)--Drug companies improperly marketed an anti-psychotic drug, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel claimed Tuesday as he asked a state judge to force the firms to repay millions shelled out by the state's Medicaid program for unnecessary prescriptions.

McDaniel filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., Janssen LP and Johnson & Johnson Inc. (JNJ). In the filing, McDaniel said the companies "engaged in a direct, illegal, nationwide program of promotion of the use of Risperdal for non-medically necessary uses."

New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson is the parent company of both Janssen Pharmaceutica and Janssen LP.

The lawsuit did not specify how much the state is seeking, but McDaniel has estimated that the state's Medicaid program spent about $200 million over eight years to pay for prescriptions for Zyprexa, Seroquel and Risperdal. The lawsuit filed Tuesday focuses solely on Risperdal.

Gabe Holmstrom, a spokesman for McDaniel's office, said the state will file similar complaints about the marketing of the other drugs. McDaniel has said other companies that will be targeted include Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY) of Indianapolis and AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), a joint venture by a British firm and a Swedish firm.

McDaniel has said the drugs were prescribed for uses not approved by federal regulators or indicated in labeling. McDaniel accused the companies of deceptive marketing practices that pushed doctors to prescribe Risperdal much more than necessary.

The lawsuit also accuses drugmakers of not including warnings on Risperdal's bottle about adverse effects such as neurological problems, weight gain and diabetes.

Ambre Morley, a spokeswoman for Janssen, defended the company and said it fully disclosed all information about Risperdal to doctors and government agencies.  

 

Monday, November 19, 2007

Should You Medicate Your Child's Mind?

 
 
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Bipolar kids or bad parents?
At the urging of parents, doctors are medicating far too many kids who just need a better upbringing, according to
Dr. Elizabeth J. Roberts  who is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of "Should You Medicate Your Child's Mind?"  
Sunday, November 18, 2007

In September 2007, researchers at Columbia University reported that there had been a 40-fold increase in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder from 1994 to 2003 -- an increase which has shown no signs of slowing.

Worse than the current frenzy to diagnose children with bipolar disorder is the practice of medicating kids as young as 2 with the kinds of psychiatric medications that were once prescribed only to psychotic adults. The shocking reality is that the use of these potent anti-psychotic drugs in children increased more than 500 percent between 1993 and 2002.

This dramatic rise in childhood bipolar disorder has spurred a raging debate in the mental health field. Some psychiatrists insist that this incredible increase is entirely due to the identification of mentally ill children who had been previously overlooked.

Yet a 4,000 percent increase in childhood mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, is simply implausible and difficult to justify based solely on improved diagnostic techniques. To the contrary, in the 30-plus years that I have been treating, educating and caring for children -- half of that time as a child psychiatrist -- I have found that the approach to diagnostics in psychiatry clearly has deteriorated over time, not improved.

There was a time when doctors insisted on hours of evaluation with a child and his parents before venturing a psychiatric diagnosis or prescribing a medication. Today many of my colleagues brag that they can complete an initial assessment of a child and write a prescription in less than 20 minutes. Many parents have told me it took a previous doctor less than five minutes to diagnose and medicate their child.

How, then, is it possible that in 2007 doctors are now able to identify hundreds of thousands of previously missed cases of bipolar disorder in children by reducing the time they spend with patients from multiple hours to just a few minutes?

On the other hand, there simply is no possible way that the number of children who actually have bipolar disorder has increased from approximately 20,000 to 800,000 in a nine-year period. Yet the arguments of skeptics are being dismissed by academics in psychiatry. Research psychiatrists appear to be more invested in defending their research conclusions -- funded by pharmaceutical companies -- than engaging in a meaningful discussion to examine these preposterous demographics.

What I find more astounding than the claim that there are 800,000 American children with bipolar disorder is the fact that there are that many children whose conduct is so aberrant that their parents are seeking psychiatric treatment for them.

The symptoms, which are regarded as evidence of bipolar disorder, usually are what most people recognize as ordinary belligerence. Children who have anger outbursts, who refuse to go to bed, who are moody and self-centered under the current standard of care in child psychiatry are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. To most rational human beings, these behaviors describe an ill-mannered, immature and poorly disciplined child. Nonetheless, the temper tantrums of belligerent children are increasingly being characterized by doctors as the mood swings of bipolar disorder.

The over-indulgent parenting practices of the past 20 years have created a generation of dysfunctional children who are becoming increasingly more entitled, defiant and oppositional. In a poll by Associated Press-Ipsos, 93 percent of people surveyed said that today's parents are not doing a good job when it comes to teaching their kids to behave. According to Dan Kindlon, a Harvard psychologist, 50 percent of the parents he interviewed described themselves as more permissive than their parents had been.

The permissive parents of spoiled children seek refuge from blame by using the excuse that their child's angry outbursts are the result of a chemical imbalance. Since a psychiatric condition is completely beyond a parent's control, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is the perfect alibi. Once a child has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a parent feels absolved of guilt or responsibility for the child's misbehavior and therefore, the parents' discipline practices cannot be called into question.

Parents looking for a psychiatric explanation for their child's misbehavior will find an abundance of support in the media and on the Web for the conclusion that their child's temper tantrums are due to a psychiatric disease rather than the result of bad parenting. Psychiatrists, for their part, are more than willing to accept, without question, the assessment offered by a parent. Doctors have found it easier and less contentious to comply with a parent's wish to have their child diagnosed with a psychiatric condition than to confront the parent with the notion that their own weak parenting is the root cause of the child's aberrant behavior.

Using the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, doctors then justify the sedation of these children with powerful psychiatric drugs. Even though some children treated with anti-psychotics may be temporarily sedated, their belligerent attitude continues unchanged. Of the many children I treat every year who had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, not one of them stopped throwing tantrums after being treated with psychiatric medications. Yet doctors continue to misdiagnose and overmedicate children to appease frustrated parents in spite of the many serious, permanent or even lethal side effects.

Tragically, as in the death of Rebecca Riley, her parents administered the multiple medications prescribed by their psychiatrist for Rebecca's "bipolar disorder" until the meds killed her. A few weeks ago, in an interview on 60 Minutes, Rebecca's mother told Katie Couric that she now believes that her four-year-old daughter had been misdiagnosed, had never been bipolar, and that Rebecca was simply mischievous.

When it comes to misdiagnosing and overmedicating children, doctors have an unwitting, though not unwilling, accomplice -- the parent. Ultimately, it is the parent who is the gatekeeper for their child's health-care delivery. It is the parent who pursues psychiatric treatment for their child, fills the prescriptions and administers the medications. Parents have a duty to protect their children from the folly of this disastrous approach to childhood behavior problems.

Instead of grooming, feeding and educating the next generation of Americans to be the fittest, brightest, most competent contributors on the planet, we have indulged, placated and spoiled our children into dysfunctional misfits. We are teaching our children to use a psychiatric diagnosis to excuse their antisocial behaviors. This will inevitably lead to a greater reliance on psychiatric medications, which unfortunately do not endow an individual with improved self-control or maturity.

Under the guise of treating childhood bipolar disorder, the spoiling of American children not only undermines their healthy social development, but it also puts them at great risk for the serious medical complications inherent in the use of psychiatric medications, including death. 

 

Psych Drugs may be killing thousands of Elderly

St. Petersburg Times

 Dementia relief, with a huge side effect

The off-label use of some drugs is helping elderly patients, but may be killing thousands.

By KRIS HUNDLEY
November 18, 2007

Two years ago, federal regulators sounded a dire warning: Elderly people with dementia who take drugs like Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa could suffer the ultimate side effect.

They could die.

Yet today, about one in four nursing home residents still take these antipsychotic drugs. Sales to the elderly continue to rise, generating a total of $13-billion in revenues for their manufacturers this year.

The disconnect between government warnings about the increased risk of death and physician prescribing practices led a prominent Food and Drug Administration safety expert to make a stunning estimate.

Dr. David Graham, who had blown the whistle on the dangers of Vioxx, was back before a congressional panel in February. He testified that Zyprexa and other antipsychotics kill about 15,000 nursing home residents each year.

His pronouncement did not spark any followup investigations; it did not prompt government-sponsored research for safer alternatives. Instead, there was resounding silence.

* * *

Why was there no outrage?

Barbara Hengstebeck, executive director of the Tallahassee-based Coalition to Protect America's Elders, thinks she knows.

"A lot of people feel like the elderly in nursing homes are expendable," she said. "They're old anyway, they have dementia anyway, they're of no value to society. So what's the big deal? That's a sad commentary."

More here:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Again, Higher Mortality with Antipsychotics in Patients with Dementia - Journal Watch (General)

Snake oil salesman deserve more respect than these guys as at least snake oil produced just as good a result without driving the patient to violence or suicide. The deception is what irks me as they simply lied about any effectiveness from the start and hid the negative results. Is there a handcuff shortage or what! That is what these con men deserve.
 
 
 

Again, Higher Mortality with Antipsychotics in Patients with Dementia

Both conventional and atypical antipsychotics were associated with higher mortality.

Although antipsychotic drugs are prescribed widely to control neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with dementia, recent studies suggest questionable efficacy (Journal Watch Oct 11 2006) and an association with increased mortality (Journal Watch Psychiatry Nov 2 2005). This retrospective cohort study compared mortality rates in patients with dementia who received antipsychotic drugs and those who received psychiatric medications other than antipsychotics.

Using a U.S. Veterans Affairs database, researchers identified 10,615 patients who began outpatient treatment with psychiatric medication following a dementia diagnosis. One-year mortality was 25% in users of conventional antipsychotics, 23% in users of atypical antipsychotics, 15% in users of other psychiatric drugs (e.g., antidepressants and anxiolytics/hypnotics), and 18% in a cohort of dementia patients who did not take psychiatric medication. After adjustment for medical comorbidities, mortality was significantly higher in patients who took antipsychotics (conventional or atypical) than in patients who took psychiatric drugs other than antipsychotics. Mortality in the non-antipsychotic medication group was similar to that in the no-medication group.

Comment: Once again, use of antipsychotic drugs was associated with increased mortality in patients with dementia. Although confounding could account for these results, statistical adjustment for confounding variables was extensive, and patients who received antipsychotics actually had slightly less measured medical comorbidity than those who received other drugs. Thus, this study gives us yet another reason to avoid antipsychotic drugs in demented patients.

Allan S. Brett, MD


ADHD Drugs Ineffective Over The Long Term

Apart from being ineffective over the long term, ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) drugs may also undermine your child's physical growth, a BBC television program, Panorama, has revealed. Scientists seem to be saying that claims made about ADHD drugs some years ago were overstated.

A long-term monitoring program involving 600 kids across the United States since the beginning of the 1990s was shown in the TV program - with some of its results. It is called the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD. The study concluded that over the long term, such ADHD drugs as Concerta and Ritalin have no demonstrable benefit for children - long term means after three years of taking the drug(s).

The use of ADHD drugs in much of the developed world has doubled over the last five years - many say it has become a cure-all for bad behavior.

In 1999 studies had claimed that a one-year course of ADHD medication is more effective for a child with ADHD than behavioral therapy. These studies had a strong influence on how doctors would treat their patients. According to Professor William Pelham, University of Buffalo, USA, the findings were exaggerated.

Pelham says he believes the beneficial impact of medication in the first study was exaggerated. It had been thought that kids would have better outcomes if they were medicated for longer - however, it is not the case, there were no beneficial effects at all.

ADHD medications also stunt a child's growth, he/she runs a very high risk of losing height and weight, compared to children who do not take the medication.

Pelham said "In the short run they will help the child behave better, in the long run it won't. And that information should be made very clear to parents."

According to Pelham, behavioral therapy and a simple diet of Omega-3 may help a child as a first move.

Ritalin of no long-term benefit, study finds

Research released today raises questions about the long-term effectiveness of drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A team of American scientists conducting the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) has found that while drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta can work well in the short term, over a three-year period they brought about no demonstrable improvement in children's behaviour. They also found the drugs could stunt growth. 

More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2007/nov/12/uknews.health

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Psychoanalyst and "Public Relations"

How to make the population wholly reactive and screw everybody: 101

 

1 Hour, 6 Minutes well spent.

 

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2637635365191428174

 

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cymbalta Causes Suicide

http://bentonville.injuryboard.com/cymbalta-causes-suicide.php?googleid=12475

Cymbalta Causes Suicide

October 16, 2007

By Sach Oliver

People of all ages should be carefully monitored, particularly when starting Cymbalta or any other antidepressant treatment. The FDA recently issued a new warning about suicidal thinking in adults taking antidepressants and the FDA specifically singled out Cymbalta. If you, your family member, or a friend is taking Cymbalta, please be careful.

Cymbalta's generic name is duloxetine. The FDA singled out Cymbalta because it has a higher than expected rate of suicide attempts. Cymbalta is made by Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly has a clinic at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. Traci Johnson, who did not suffer from depression, volunteered for trial testing of Cymbalta. As a result of Cymbalta, Traci hung herself in one of the clinic's showers. Traci was the fifth patient to commit suicide after taking Cymbalta in clinical trials. For heaven sakes, please do not volunteer for any clinical testing involving Cymbalta.

Why do you think Eli Lilly pushes this drug onto so many doctors and then onto the patients? Some analysts believe that Cymbalta will generate revenue up to $3 billion by 2009. This is why every night while watching TV you see dozens of Cymbalta commercials.

Our firm is handling Cymbalta suicide cases. Not until after meeting the families of the Cymbalta victims did I immediately call my own family to make certain they were not taking Cymbalta. My heart stopped to learn that several of my own family members had taken Cymbalta and no one had warned them about the consequences. Please, before even thinking of taking Cymbalta, research the drug thoroughly and make certain the patient is closely monitored

Provigil Warnings / Weight Control in Kids / Cancer & Psychosocial Needs

The last sentence shouldn't stop the shrinks. "Finally, the label reminds providers that Provigil is not approved for use in children for any indication."

Physician's First Watch for October 25, 2007
David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief

Warnings Added to Provigil Label

Simple Measures Help Prevent Excess Weight Gain in Kids

Panel Devises Plan for Meeting Psychosocial Needs of Cancer Patients

Warnings Added to Provigil Label

Warnings about the potential for serious rashes and psychiatric symptoms have been added to the prescribing information for the wakefulness-promoting agent Provigil (modafinil), the FDA has announced.

Although rare, serious rashes — including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms — have been reported in children and adults on the drug. In addition, multiorgan hypersensitivity reactions have occurred.

Some patients also report experiencing anxiety, mania, hallucinations, and suicidality on the drug. Thus, "caution should be exercised when Provigil is given to patients with a history of psychosis, depression, or mania," the label states.

Finally, the label reminds providers that Provigil is not approved for use in children for any indication.

FDA alert (Free)

Provigil label (Free PDF)

Authorities say Pittsburg woman committed suicide - fluoxetine (Prozac) and benzodiazpines (Valium-Xanax type drug) + meth

 
Published October 25, 2007 09:08 pm - COLUMBUS, Kan. — A Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department investigation has concluded that a Pittsburg woman who was found dead May 21 in her car near Weir shot herself, chief Detective Doug Wydick said Wednesday.

Authorities say Pittsburg woman committed suicide


By Roger McKinney

COLUMBUS, Kan. — A Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department investigation has concluded that a Pittsburg woman who was found dead May 21 in her car near Weir shot herself, chief Detective Doug Wydick said Wednesday.

Janet McMurray’s autopsy, on file in the Cherokee County District Court clerk’s office, stated McMurray died of a single gunshot wound to her chest. The bullet went through her body and entered the car seat behind her.

The autopsy was performed by Dr. Erik Mitchell, with Frontier Forensics, Topeka, on May 22. His final report was filed Aug. 30.

Mitchell wrote that he had received information from investigators that McMurray was found dead in her vehicle and had partially wrapped herself in a blue tarp. A gun was found inside the car. He wrote that notes were found indicating that she had self-destructive thoughts and that she was on methamphetamines and benzodiazepines, a sedative.

Mitchell wrote that her body remained partially encased in the blue, plastic tarp when the autopsy began. She was wearing a wrist band labeled “admit one.”

The toxicology report notes that McMurray’s blood contained fluoxetine, an antidepressant, at a higher concentration than is used for standard therapeutic treatment and was at the lower border range for fluoxetine-induced deaths.

The concentration of methamphetamines in her blood was in the range where death can occur, according to the report.

Drugging Our Poor

"The increasing correlation between psychiatric visits and medicated
therapy may call into question whether mental screening actually
benefits the public. In 2002, the Journal of the American Academy Child
& Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) reported that 9 of 10 children referred
to a psychiatrist received psychotropic medications as part of their
treatment. Dr. Peter Breggin, psychiatrist and founder of ICSPP,
asserted that psychotropic drugs are insufficient treatment because they
"deaden the person's response to life. That is not dealing with
psychosis. Psychosis has to do with a very complex way of thinking."

"TeenScreen's earlier reliance on passive parental consent, the
program's high rate of false positives, and concerns about privacy
invasion have caused many groups to publicly denounce its policies."

http://www.aim.org/briefing/5845_0_5_0_C/

Sunday, November 04, 2007

LA TIMES - DSM Psych - "We don't know what we're doing"

 

Fine-tuning diagnostic labels for kids

November 5, 2007

A project that could help rewrite psychiatrists' diagnostic guidebook is underway at UCLA. The work, launched this summer by the National Institutes of Health, aims to put the diagnosis of several major psychiatric conditions -- including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia -- on a more rigorous footing by identifying and mapping the biological processes that may link these diseases or distinguish them from one another.

Under the $22.5-million project, UCLA neuroscientists expect to explore how weakness in two cognitive skills -- working memory (sometimes called short-term memory) and impulse control -- may better identify people who have, or are developing, psychiatric disease. If clinicians can test patients for such measurable deficits, they might one day abandon the imprecise diagnostic labels and the trial-and-error medication decisions that characterize psychiatry today, says UCLA neuroscientist Robert Bilder, who leads the project.

Until then, it's hard to know whether mental-health professionals are overdiagnosing or underdiagnosing psychiatric disorders in kids or adults, Bilder says. Instead, he says, "there's an implicit misdiagnosis, since we don't know what we're doing."

-- Melissa Healy

Friday, November 02, 2007

Experts demand end to child drugging...

Washington, DC: On October 12, 2007, experts in the field of psychiatry and child development from all over the world arrived in Washington to attend the annual conference of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. This year's conference focused on one specific goal - to end the mass-prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children.

In addition to the seminars and presentations by psychiatric experts and academics, other presenters and speakers at the conference varied from patients and leaders of patient advocacy groups to social workers, nurses, educators, authors and lawmakers.

The conference included presentations on the serious health risks associated with the new generation of psychiatric drugs now commonly prescribed to children, including attention deficit medications, antidepressant drugs and atypical antipsychotics.

Much of the outrage expressed by speakers and attendees alike stemmed from the recommendation by the Bush Administration's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to conduct "universal" mental illness screening of all Americans from the age of "0" on up to the oldest living citizen.

More here:http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/01509/child-drugging.html

Friday, October 26, 2007

Prozac in drinking water

Prozac 'found in drinking water'
 
Traces of the antidepressant Prozac can be found in the nation's drinking water, it has been revealed.
An Environment Agency report suggests so many people are taking the drug nowadays it is building up in rivers and groundwater.
 
A report in Sunday's Observer says the government's environment watchdog has discussed the impact for human health.
 
A spokesman for the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said the Prozac found was most likely highly diluted.
 
'Alarming'
The newspaper says environmentalists are calling for an urgent investigation into the evidence.
 
It quotes the Liberal Democrats' environment spokesman, Norman Baker MP, as saying the picture emerging looked like "a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public".
 
He says: "It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water."
 
Experts say the anti-depression drug gets into the rivers and water system via treated sewage water. 
 

GROSS!!! Over 50% of Antipsychotics Used for ADHD in young children

 In February, 2006, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration announced a contract with the University of South Florida to study the use of antipsychotics on children in Florida's Medicaid system.   
 
The press release,  (attached) says that in 2005, close to 18,000 children were prescribed antipsychotics and more than 475,000 prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs were written in the past 5 years.
 
The study, done by USF's Florida Mental Health Institute is now complete.
 
You can download the 52 page report  here:   http://www.psychsearch.net/antipsychotic_adhd.pdf
 
See page 22, it breaks down the age groups:
 
Age 0 to 5       - 53.8% of the antipsychotics were prescribed for ADHD
Age 6 to 12     - 48.8%  of the antipsychotics were prescribed for ADHD
 

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NY Times - TeenScreen mentioned

"TeenScreen ... controversial among many parents and patient advocates, who say it can stigmatize youngsters who are struggling but are not mentally ill or at risk of suicide. Dr. Jensen said that he was less eager to promote TeenScreen than Dr. Shaffer, and that this created tension as well. " 
 
 
 
The New York Times
Psychiatrist Sues Columbia After Being Terminated
By Benedict Carey
October 25, 2007

The two prominent psychiatrists clashed frequently over small details and big money, over research priorities and ethics, and in the end Columbia University's child psychiatry department was not big enough to hold both of them, colleagues said.

Now, one psychiatrist is suing the university for wrongful termination and charging that the other engineered his ouster in a Machiavellian plot that went on for years.

In the suit, filed last week in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Dr. Peter Jensen, formerly the director of the Ruane Center for the Advancement of Children’s Mental Health at Columbia, contends that after he was hired by the university in 1999, Dr. David Shaffer, director of the university’s child psychiatry division, continually undermined his work. By making derogatory comments and subjecting Dr. Jensen’s work to unfair scrutiny, the lawsuit says, Dr. Shaffer helped force Dr. Jensen out of his job.

Dr. Jensen — who said that, among other things, Dr. Shaffer had called him “the Brad Pitt of psychiatry” — is seeking about $15 million in damages from the university.

Dr. Jensen’s employment ended in June, after board members voted not to renew his contract. He charges in the suit that the move was improper. The filing of the lawsuit was reported on Wednesday in The New York Sun.

Columbia officials refused to comment on the case, as did Dr. Shaffer.

The two men differed sharply in their professional goals and personal styles, according to several people who had been colleagues of both but who would not comment on the record because of the lawsuit. Dr. Shaffer, a renowned expert on suicide among children and adolescents, is considered restrained and scholarly by nature, and he focuses primarily on the study of biochemical causes of psychological problems, mainly depression.

Dr. Jensen is, by his own admission, outspoken, a media favorite, and interested more in bringing psychiatric care to community settings than in basic research. He is best known for his work on attention deficit disorder.

“I don’t know what the details are, but I can say that these are two very strong-willed people,” said William E. Pelham, director of the Center for Children and Families at the University of Buffalo.

Beyond personalities and specialties, the case revolves in part around charges of ethics violations against Dr. Jensen.

In academic settings, researchers are subject to institutional review boards, which are responsible for ensuring that studies use proper consent procedures and do not endanger patients. Beginning in 2005, according to the suit, officials at the Research Foundation for Mental Health, an independent review board that monitors research grants in the state, identified several violations in Dr. Jensen’s research.

In an interview yesterday, Dr. Jensen would not specify what the violations were. He said that the university had approved other studies, with similar methods, without finding ethics problems. “Academic researchers know, and many have seen this kind of thing before — when a university wants to push someone out, it encourages the person to leave by making life there miserable,” Dr. Jensen said.

The projects that Dr. Jensen has worked on include efforts to encourage community doctors to follow guidelines for treating childhood mental disorders like depression. In studies like these, academic researchers track patients’ progress indirectly, typically without knowing their names. Ethics guidelines, which can vary from institution to institution, often require researchers to get consent before publishing any information on these patients, even if no one is named.

Dr. Jensen and Dr. Shaffer were continually at odds over research, according to colleagues. One of Dr. Shaffer’s projects is TeenScreen, a standardized questionnaire meant to assess potential suicide risk in adolescents. The voluntary screening, which has been used by more than 400 schools, is controversial among many parents and patient advocates, who say it can stigmatize youngsters who are struggling but are not mentally ill or at risk of suicide. Dr. Jensen said that he was less eager to promote TeenScreen than Dr. Shaffer, and that this created tension as well.

The two doctors also drew research financing from the same source, a fund set up by an investor in New York, William J. Ruane, which paid Dr. Jensen’s $220,000 yearly salary. The lawsuit says that the university owed Dr. Jensen three years’ salary.

Columbia stopped paying Dr. Jensen’s salary last summer. He is now director of the Reach Family Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes better treatment for children with developmental problems. Dr. Jensen, who before going to Columbia was the associate director of child and adolescent research at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., said he was still living in university housing.