Should You Let Your Child or Parent Take That Antipsychotic Drug?

Recently, pharmaceutical companies paid out about $5 billion for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs.  The settlements came after claims that the drugs were being administered to children in psychiatric hospitals, foster care and juvenile prisons and to elderly in nursing homes who did not have conditions for which these drugs have FDA approval to treat.

For example, studies indicate that drugs that are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are being used to treat posttraumatic stress disorder and ADHD.  In other cases, the drugs are simply being used to make patients easier to manage without any known benefit and with serious potential risks including death.

If you have a loved one for whom an antipsychotic medication is being suggested, it is important to ask questions about why the drug is being prescribed, whether the drug has FDA approval to treat the condition for which it is being prescribed, and about the potential benefits and risks of the drug.