Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Antipsychotic drugs are doing harm

Advances in brain imaging techniques show that antipsychotic medications cause brain damage. Animal and human studies link the drugs to shrinkage of the cerebral cortex, home to the higher functions. One study of monkeys given either older or newer neuroleptic medication in doses equivalent to those given humans showed an 11 percent to 15 percent shrinkage of the left parietal lobe. Drugs that cause brain damage almost invariably reduce life expectancy.

Marketing campaigns for atypical antipsychotic drugs target new groups of patients, including the elderly and children. Public television recently reported that as many as 1 million children have been newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and thus may receive neuroleptic medication. This does not include children treated with antipsychotics for other disorders.

The damage to developing brains cannot be overemphasized. Years ago, the Soviet Union was condemned for giving neuroleptic medication to political dissidents. We now are giving a more lethal form of this medication to our children. Where is the outcry?

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