With more and more cases of children with behavioral problems, there’s no surprise that prescription use for youngsters is on the rise. Specifically, powerful antipsychotics are being prescribed more and more.
But, these brain-tweaking pills aren’t being recommended by psychiatrists, but by pediatricians.
More than that, these pills don’t mess around. Some experts have even referred to them like a chemical lobotomy (lobotomy: a banned medical procedure that can make people vegetative).
Parents just don’t know what these pills can really do.
You Want to Give My Kid Schizophrenia Pills?
The antipsychotic drugs Abilify and Risperdal are generally used to treat psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other serious adult behavioral issues.
However, doctors who are not psychiatrists are prescribing these medications for an off-label usage: treating ADHD and other behavioral problems.
Off-label drugs are medications intended for one purpose but used for another. The dosage or form can also be different to be off-label. Off-label drug usage is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There has not been enough research showing effectiveness for this kind of ‘side-effect’ use.
Nonetheless, doctors are allowed to prescribe these off-label drugs, and they don’t even have to tell a patient that it is off-label.
Add on top of that how these antipsychotics are being prescribed by non-specialists and you have a formula for serious long-term harm.
According to Researcher Dr. Mark Olfson, one of the Columbia University Medical Center’s professors of clinical psychiatry, a majority of antipsychotic drugs being given to children are actually for off label purposes and not for the treatment of actual psychotic conditions.
What Antipsychotics Really Do
Usually, psychiatric drugs are prescribed to a child when they have a legitimate psychological problem. That usually means psychotherapy, seeing a specialized counselor, should go hand-in-hand.
However, since non-psychiatrists are prescribing these drugs, children are not receiving the psychotherapy they may need.
Here’s the big question: are these off-label drugs doing more harm than good for kids with problems like ADHD?
Antipsychotics can rapidly improve behavioral problems in children, but there haven’t been any studies on the long term effect on their still-developing brains.
Antipsychotic drugs work by altering the frontal lobes of the brain. The same part of the brain targeted by a lobotomy. Sure, these drugs rapidly reduce bad behavior. But, that’s because they reduce all behavior.
In addition, these drugs come with serious side effects: diabetes, heart problems and weight gain.
Worst of all, there are some uncertain effects that many doctors fear. These problems can include cognitive, social and physical development problems.
What does it mean for the next generation of Americans? The full cognitive effect of these drugs may not be known until these children have reached full development. For sure, they may be at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity, all of which could be potentially fatal.
In the meantime, parents who have children with ADHD or other behavioral problems should always ask about the medication that their doctor is prescribing. Always.
If it’s an antipsychotic, see a psychiatrist first to ensure your child is getting the proper physical and mental care.
A second opinion could save your child’s future.
American health care doesn’t negotiate with bacteria. American scientists formulate potent antibiotics to nuke the millions of bacterial infections seen every year.
And so far, the ‘nuke the bacteria’ strategy has worked. Diseases are typically cured more easily these days then they were hundreds of years ago. People are living a lot longer. Infections just aren’t spreading like they could be. Lives have been saved.
But, modern medicine is coming to a wall. Antibiotic nukes just aren’t working like they used to.
Medical scientists are constantly searching for bigger and better bio-weapons to attack drug resistant infections. Sometimes, they even have to double up on antibiotics to get the job done.
America may be coming up to a fight it can’t win.
All-Out War: Antibiotics vs. Bacteria
Ever heard of gonorrhea? It’s one of the most resistant infections known today.
Since the 1930’s, these infections have building up resistances to nearly every group of antibiotics that we have. The bacteria continually mutates, meaning that the standard antibiotic treatment no longer works. Today, the policies are different than a year ago.
A new antibiotic is the recommended treatment. And it should stay effective for many years.
But, the bacteria will more than likely mutate again, making one of our last weapons obsolete. We’ve gone from more than 5 ways to kill gonorrhea down to just one.
In order to prevent the gonorrhea bacteria from beating this last resort antibiotic, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending attacking the infection with a double-whammy: injectable antibiotic Rocephin along with oral antibiotic azithromycin or doxycycline.
Why? Using two antibiotics instead of one is makes it much harder for the bacteria to become resistant. The drug combo essentially confuses the bacteria and helps prevent it from developing a solid defense.
Without these guidelines, doctors would be prescribing either Suprax (ineffective these days) or Rocephin alone, which could lead to quicker resistance.
What happens when Rocephin doesn’t work anymore? (And it’s not an ‘if’ but a ‘when.’) We might be left with an incurable super-bug.
Winning the Battle
Gonorrhea is not the only bacteria on the path to becoming a super-bug.
Recently the MRSA has been in the news with another potentially serious infection that’s fighting back against antibiotics. Eventually these drug-resistant strains of bacteria will not respond to any antibiotics available.
Any bacterial infection has the potential to become drug resistant. What we are facing is the possibility of an opponent that we can’t defeat. An incurable infection.
When this happens, the spread of these diseases can increase. Infections that were once seen as “no big deal” might require hospitalization.
They could even kill.
In the case of gonorrhea, infections rates are at an all-time low. People are clearly doing their best to prevent the spread. But once the bacteria become drug resistant to the last antibiotic weapon we have, then infection rates have nowhere to go but up.