Anti-Psychotic Meds for Adolescents: FDA Panel Recommends Approval

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By David Goguen on June 11, 2009 9:53 AM

Anti-psychotic medications Seroquel, Zyprexa, and Geodon should receive FDA approval for prescription to adolescent patients, an advisory panel of medical experts told the agency this week.

As the Washington Post points out, doctors have begun prescribing these drugs (which are currently approved only for adult use) to younger patients in recent years, and now the advisory panel wants the FDA to officially endorse such use "for children 10 to 17 years old who suffer from schizophrenia and manic depression." The FDA is not legally obligated to -- but usually does -- follow the recommendations of its advisory panels.

According to the Post, the director of the FDA's division of psychiatry products stated that clinical trials conducted showed the anti-psychotics were effective in younger patients, while "the risk profile of the drugs" for kids "was similar to the side effects they caused among adults, for whom the drugs are already approved."

Antipsychotic medications like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Geodon are used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia -- including hearing voices, seeing things that are not there, mistaken beliefs, and paranoia -- and manic episodes stemming from bipolar disorder.

In addition to common side effects like headaches, nausea, and weight gain, some anti-psychotic medications can cause serious health problems like Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a life-threatening nervous system problem that can also affect the kidneys; Tardive Dyskinesia (TD), an uncontrollable muscle movement problem; and high blood sugar and diabetes.