People who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression can benefit from atypical antipsychotics, but people with low-grade unhappiness, anxiety and insomnia should think twice before using atypical antipsychotics.
In an article by Dr. Richard A Friedman, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan; Dr. Friedman cautions using antipsychotics medications for symptoms that come with “modern life” such as low-grade unhappiness, anxiety and insomnia. Noting, that in 2011 antipsychotic drugs were prescribed to 3.1 million Americans at a cost of $18.2 billion, a 13 percent increase over previous years according to the market research firm IMS Health.
In 1993 came the atypical antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon and Abilify which, according to large randomized studies, (like the landmark “Catie trial”) failed to show that the new antipsychotics were any more effective or better tolerated than the older drugs and that they had serious side effects of their own such as, increased blood sugar, elevated lipids and cholesterol, and weight gain.
Unbelievably, the number of annual prescriptions for atypical antipsychotics rose to 54 million in 2011 from 28 million in 2001, this is a 93% increase according to IMS Health. Also, the combined spending on print and digital media advertising for these new antipsychotics increased to $2.4 billion in 2010, up from $1.3 billion in 2007, according to Kantar Media. A study from 2011 found that 21.3% of visits to a psychiatrist for treatment of an anxiety disorder in 2007 resulted in a prescription for an antipsychotic, this is up from 10.6% in 1996.
Dr. Friedman notes that he, along with many of his colleagues, have seen dozens of patient with nothing more than everyday anxiety or insomnia who were given prescriptions for antipsychotic medications. Sadly, few of these patients were aware of the potential long-term risks of these drugs.
In the article, Dr. Friedman does state that, atypical antipsychotics can be lifesaving for people who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression But patients should think twice – and then some – before using these drugs to deal with the low-grade unhappiness, anxiety and insomnia that comes with modern life.
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