Anti-depressant Drugs: December 2006 Archives

Drug Files Show Maker Promoted Unapproved Use

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zyprexa Eli Lilly encouraged primary care physicians to use Zyprexa, a powerful drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in patients who did not have either condition, according to internal Lilly marketing materials.

The marketing documents, given to The New York Times by a lawyer representing mentally ill patients, detail a multiyear promotional campaign that Lilly began in Orlando, Fla., in late 2000. In the campaign, called Viva Zyprexa, Lilly told its sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe Zyprexa to older patients with symptoms of dementia.

A Lilly executive said that she could not comment on specific documents but that the company had never promoted Zyprexa for off-label uses and that it always showed the marketing materials used by its sales representatives to the Food and Drug Administration, as required by law.

FDA May Expand Antidepressant Warning

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FDAThe FDA said Wednesday it planned to expand warnings on up to a dozen antidepressant medications following studies suggesting the drugs raise the risk of suicidal behavior in a wider range of patients than previously thought.

In 2004, the agency ordered "black box" warnings to be added to antidepressant packaging alerting doctors of evidence that the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts in children and teens under the age of 18. Officials said Wednesday they would now move to expand the warning to include young adults up to age 25.

The warnings apply to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Paxil, in addition to related drugs including Effexor and Wellbutrin. Officials said the warnings would also likely be included in medication guides distributed to patients

prozacby Dr. Peter Breggin

On December 13, 2006 the FDA's Psychopharmaceutical Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) is meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland to discuss antidepressant-induced suicidal behavior in adults. In 2004 the FDA held similar hearings on children and concluded that antidepressants do in fact cause suicide in humans under age eighteen. A warning has been placed in all antidepressant labels or package inserts.

Now the agency has given advanced notice of its new findings--antidepressants, all of them according to the FDA, cause increased suicidality in young adults. Suicide occurs more than twice as much on antidepressants than on sugar pills in individuals under age 25.