New Antipsychotic Risky for Children
Doctors are prescribing a new class of antipsychotic drugs to treat mental illnesses in children. But there could be cause for concern—the drugs are only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Atypicals include Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, and Geodon, and are said to be prescribed to children only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Yet a study of FDA data found that from 2000 to 2004, 45 children died from a listed cause of death related to an atypical antipsychotic. In addition, there were 1,328 reports of serious side effects from the drugs. Six of the 45 children who died had complications associated with diabetes. Atypicals have labels warning that they can increase the risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
Other effects of the drug include:
- Dystonia which produces involuntary and painful muscle contractions.
- Tremors, weight gain and sedation were found along with tardive dyskinesia (TD). Symptoms of TD include twitching to full-blown jerking of the body.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome was the most serious side effect found. It is life-threatening and can kill within the first 24-hours of diagnosis.
All makers of the atypical drugs reiterate that their drugs are not approved for children, but are safe to treat adults.
Source: “New antipsychotic drugs carry risks for children.” By Marilyn Elias. USA Today. May 2, 2006.