Mental Health Medication & Serious Side Effects
Do you suspect that the prescription drugs you or a loved one received for schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, dementia, depression or anxiety were improperly prescribed?
Big Pharma & Antipsychotic Drugs
Antipsychotic drugs are now the top-selling class of prescription medication in America, earning almost 15 million dollars a year for pharmaceutical companies.
Aggressive marketing, expanding definitions for mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and rampant off-label usage have made drugs once taken for only the most serious mentally illness a bonanza for drug makers and a menace to consumers.
Nursing homes dispense antipsychotics in many cases to make patients more manageable, known as “chemical restraint”. Overall 26% of nursing home patients with no prior mental health diagnosis are given antipsychotics. For dementia patients the rate is even higher: 40%.
In 2005 the FDA issued a “Black Box” warning stating that antipsychotic medications put dementia patients at an “increased risk of death.” The companies making these drugs have settled with the federal government for illegal marketing, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars, yet they continue to aggressively market the very same drugs.
“It’s the money,” says Dr. Jerome L. Avorn, a Harvard medical professor and researcher, in the New York Times. “When you’re selling $1 billion a year or more of a drug, it’s very tempting for a company to just ignore the traffic ticket and keep speeding.”
An Issue of Social Justice
Pharmaceutical Mismanagement is not just a public health issue, it’s also an issue of social justice. The people who are most harmed by these medications are the most vulnerable: aging men and women, who may be cognitively and/or physically impaired and utterly dependent on health care professionals.