Drugs designed for treating the most severe mental illnesses are often prescribed for use in conditions where their benefit has not been established, and often in inappropriate doses, a recent study suggests.
Prescription drugs that might cost as much as $20 to $25 a day are being widely used to treat problems for which they are not FDA-approved. Some of those problems could have been addressed with generic medications costing $1 a day, with better results and less risk of serious side effects.
This is a reflection of the widespread use of medications for "off-label" uses that have not been carefully considered or approved by the FDA, according to the study, some of which are raising medical costs and reducing the effectiveness of health care.
Eurekalert March 4, 2009
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry October 2008;69(10):1540-7
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Antipsychotic medications are some of the most expensive and side-effect-riddled drugs on the market. And while they’re only approved to treat severe forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, this recent study found that the vast majority of people receiving these powerful drugs did not have either one of those disorders.
In fact, out of the 830 Oregon Medicaid patients given the drugs, most were suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even insomnia. These are all issues that can be handled using safe, non-drug methods, yet these people were instead given expensive and dangerous antipsychotic drugs.
Imagine visiting your doctor because you have anxiety or insomnia, then being prescribed a drug that can cause potentially even worse conditions, such as:
• Stroke and heart arrhythmias
• Moderate to severe weight gain
This is exactly what happens far too often with these drugs.