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Minnesota's children too often receive ineffective or harmful antipsychotic meds, Strib article says

Many of Minnesota’s children receive prescription medications for psychiatric disorders not from psychiatrists, but from their family practice physicians.
Creative Commons/C.L. Frost
Many of Minnesota’s children receive prescription medications for psychiatric disorders not from psychiatrists, but from their family practice physicians.

In Sunday’s second installment in its excellent "Fragile Minds" series on treatment problems for young people with mental illness, the Star Tribune focused on a troubling trend: Many of Minnesota’s children receive prescription medications for psychiatric disorders not from psychiatrists, but from their family practice physicians.

As Strib reporter Jeremy Olson notes, those family practice physicians often “lack the time and expertise to get those decisions right.”

Writes Olson:

Even though some primary care doctors admit they are in a poor position to diagnose and treat severe mental disorders, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans has found that they prescribe 80 percent of psychiatric drugs.
It's a problem born of a national shortage of psychiatrists, and it can lead children to ineffective or harmful treatments. …

Olson illustrates the potential harm that this situation can have on children with a nightmarish story of a Minnesota teenager. Her symptoms appeared to worsen after she was diagnosed as being bipolar by an emergency room physician and later given antipsychotic medications before being assessed by a psychiatrist.

But, as Olson also points out, family practice docs often believe they have no choice but to prescribe the drugs themselves:

Family doctors sometimes prescribe drugs in questionable cases because alternatives aren't available, waits for psychiatrists are months long, or because parents grow desperate as their children become bizarre or aggressive, said Dr. Brian Lynch, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician. ....
"At some point," he said, "many providers don't know the direction to go other than to use medications."

“Psychiatrists said they often untangle the diagnoses and prescriptions issued by primary care doctors,” Olson adds. “Sometimes, they are made in error or haste. Other times, the diagnoses are a ruse to meet insurance criteria and get patients admitted to hospitals.”

The situation will change somewhat this fall. “[I]n an attempt to reduce misdiagnosis and overmedication, [Minnesota] will require primary care doctors to call a psychiatric hot line before prescribing heavy doses of antipsychotics or other drugs to children on state-funded health plans,” writes Olson.

But this new consult service won’t resolve a bigger mental-illness issue that’s been brewing in the state. Writes Olson:

The shortage of psychiatrists is acute in Minnesota, where the per capita rate of these specialists is 33 percent lower than the national rate. The shortage may worsen, as the median age of Minnesota's psychiatrists is 50.8 years.
Solutions have been sparse. Doctors at an Allina clinic in Cambridge, Minn., hired a psychologist to help assess and treat young patients, but had to wait 12 years to find one.

Olson’s article is part of the Strib’s premium service, which means it won’t be available to nonsubscribers for a few days. In the meantime, however, you can read the first article in the series from last June, which focuses on the growing concern that too many children are being diagosed and treated for bipolar disorder.

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Comments (3)

I'm glad they are looking at the issue, but confused that their solution is more psychiatrists. Where does he believe the message to diagnose kids with bipolar came from? It came from studies ghostwritten by drug companies and signed by prominent psychiatrists and presented at psychiatric meetings and in talks. I don't doubt that primary care people dole out most of the drugs, but they are responding to marketing messages that are the financial backbone of the psychiatric literature and continuing medical education.

And it doesn't really jibe with the Lifestyle piece by Kim Ode from last year on memoirist Marya Hornbacher, which tells of the "medication essential to smoothing the peaks and valleys" for childhood bipolar disorder.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/52683772.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=...

Eli Lilly Zyprexa,Risperdal and Seroquel same saga

The use of powerful antipsychotic drugs has increased in children as young as three years old. Weight gain, increases in triglyceride levels and associated risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The average weight gain (adults) over the 12 week study period was the highest for Zyprexa—17 pounds. You’d be hard pressed to gain that kind of weight sport-eating your way through the holidays.
One in 145 adults died in clinical trials of those taking the antipsychotic drugs Zyprexa. This is Lilly's # 1 product over $ 4 billion year sales,moreover Lilly also make billions on drugs that treat the diabetes often that has been caused by the zyprexa!
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Daniel Haszard Zyprexa victim activist and patient who got diabetes from it.

Zyprexa,Risperdal and Seroquel health risk.

Weight gain, increases in triglyceride levels and associated risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The average weight gain (adults) over the 12 week study period was the highest for Zyprexa—17 pounds.
One in 145 adults died in clinical trials of those taking the antipsychotic drugs Zyprexa. This is Lilly's # 1 product over $ 4 billion year sales,moreover Eli Lilly also make billions on drugs that treat the diabetes often that has *been caused* by the Zyprexa!
---
Daniel Haszard Zyprexa victim activist and patient who got diabetes from it.