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Side Effects of Antipsychotics (Major Tranquilizers or Neuroleptics)

November 7, 2007 5 comments

The below information is taken from a report which overviews the side effects of common psychiatric drugs and includes information on drug regulatory agency warnings, studies and other reports that may not appear in the packaging information for the drugs themselves.

ANTIPSYCHOTICS
(Called Major Tranquilizers or Neuroleptics)

BRAND NAMES: (Older Antipsychotics)

Amidate
Arvynol
Dalmane
Demerol
Depakote
Doriden
Dormalin
Geodon
Haldol
Largon
Lidone
Loxitane
Mellaril
Moban
Navane
Nembutal
Neurontin
Nozinan
Orap
Permitil
Phenergan
Proketazine
Prolixin
Proscom
Quide
Repoise
Serlect
Seroquel
Sparine
Stelazine
Taractan
Tegretol
Thorazine
Tindal
Topamax
Trancopal
Triclos
Trilafon
Versed
Vesprin

BRAND NAMES: (Newer Antipsychotics)

Abilify
Ambien
Clozaril
Compazine
Lamictal
Reserpine
Risperdal
Serentil
Zyprexa

Side Effects:

Akathisia*
Abnormal gait (manner of walking)
Birth defects
Blindness
Blood disorders
Blood-sugar
abnormalities
Blurred vision
Cardiac arrest
Confusion
Death from liver failure
Depression
Diabetes
Drowsiness
Extreme inner-anxiety
Fatal blood clots
Headache
Heart arrhythmia
Heart failure
Heart palpitation
Heat stroke
Hemorrhage
Hostility
Hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar)
Hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar)
Impotence
Insomnia
Involuntary movements
Light-headedness
Manic reaction
Muscle rigidity
Nausea
Nervousness
Neuroleptic malignant
Syndrome*
Nightmares
Painful skin rashes
Pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas, a gland near the stomach that helps digestion)
Poor concentration
Restlessness
Seizures
Sexual dysfunction
Sleepiness
Spasms
Suicidal thoughts
Swollen and leaking breasts
Tachycardia (heart irregularity)
Tardive dyskinesia*
Tremors
Violence
Vomiting
Weakness
Weight gain68

*Akathisia: A, meaning “without” and kathisia, meaning “sitting,” an inability to keep still. Patients pace about uncontrollably. The side effect has been linked to assaultive, violent behavior.69

*Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: A potentially fatal toxic reaction where patients break into fevers and become confused, agitated, and extremely rigid. An estimated 100,000 Americans have died from it after taking the older antipsychotics.70

*Tardive Dyskinesia: Tardive, meaning “late” and dyskinesia meaning, “abnormal movement of muscles.” Tardive Dyskinesia is a permanent impairment of the power of voluntary movement of the lips, tongue, jaw, fingers, toes, and other body parts.71

GENERAL WARNINGS AND STUDIES ON ANTIPSYCHOTICS:

The Journal of Toxicology reported that the newer antipsychotics “will soon account for the majority of poisonings from antipsychotic agents that get presented to health care facilities in the U.S.”72 It found “seizures are uncommonly associated with atypical antipsychotic agents following both therapeutic doses and overdoses.” And “the ingestion of a single tablet of clozapine (Clozaril), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and risperidone (Risperidal) may cause significant toxicity in a toddler. Ataxia (involuntary muscular movement), confusions, EPS (extrapyramidal symptoms—nerve damage), coma, and respiratory arrest have been reported following ingestion of 50-200mg of clozapine in toddlers.”73

September 2003: The FDA requested the makers of six newer antipsychotic drugs add a caution to their labeling language about the potential risk of diabetes and blood sugar abnormalities.74

June 2004: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration published an Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin reporting that the newer antipsychotics could increase the risk of diabetes.75

September 22, 2005: Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman of Columbia University and other researchers published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine that compared the older generation of antipsychotics with several newer ones. Far from proving effectiveness, of the 1,493 patients who had participated, 74% discontinued their antipsychotic drugs before the end of their treatment due to inefficacy, intolerable side effects or other reasons. After 18 months of taking Zyprexa, 64% of the patients taking this stopped, most commonly because it caused sleepiness, weight gain or neurological symptoms like stiffness and tremors.76

December 1, 2005: Researchers found that 18% of nearly 23,000 elderly patients taking the older antipsychotics died within the first six months of taking them.77

May 2, 2006: USA Today released the results of an analysis of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data that showed at least 45 children died between 2000 and 2004 from the side effects of antipsychotic drugs (Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Geodon). Despite an adults-only FDA approval for these drugs, according to the USA Today, up to 2.5 million children have been prescribed them. As the FDA’s Adverse Drug Reactions reporting database only collects 1% to 10% of drug-induced side effects and deaths, the true child death rate could be between 450 and several thousand. The USA Today exposé ran on its front page and in a series of 5 other articles spanning 4 pages. Further, there were 1,328 reports of other side effects, some life threatening such as convulsions and low white blood cell count.78

WARNINGS ON SPECIFIC ANTIPSYCHOTICS:

ABILIFY:

Abilify and other antipsychotic drugs have caused a condition referred to as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This is potentially fatal and patients who develop this syndrome may have high fevers, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, and heart arrhythmias (irregularities).79

Body temperature regulation—disruption of the body’s ability to reduce core body temperature—has been attributed to antipsychotic agents such as Abilify.80

In April 2003, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen conducted their own review of information published on Abilify. They based their evaluation primarily on publicly available FDA reviews of information submitted by the manufacturer of Abilify in gaining FDA approval for the drug. FDA approval was based on just five trials lasting four to six weeks. According to Public Citizen, “…nothing in these five trials can lead one to believe that aripiprazole (Abilify) is a meaningful advancement in the treatment of schizophrenia.”81

The information insert on Abilify lists hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar—usually associated with diabetes), hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar) and diabetes as possible side effects.82

ZYPREXA:

July 22, 2005: Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of the antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa, agreed to pay $1.07 billion to settle more than 8,000 claims against the drug alleging it can potentially cause life-threatening diabetes.83

September 22, 2005: Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman of Columbia University and other researchers published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine comparing an older generation of antipsychotics with several newer ones.84 After 18 months on Zyprexa, 64% of the patients taking this had stopped, most commonly because it was not well tolerated and caused sleepiness, weight gain or neurological symptoms like stiffness and tremors.85

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights investigates and exposes psychiatric violations of human rights. It works shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded groups and individuals who share a common purpose to clean up the field of mental health. It shall continue to do so until psychiatry’s abusive and coercive practices cease and human rights and dignity are returned to all.

For further information consult the Physicians’ Desk Reference, which can be found at http://www.pdrhealth.com. It could be dangerous to immediately cease taking psychiatric drugs because of significant and dangerous withdrawal side effects. No one should stop taking any psychiatric drug without the advice and assistance of a competent, medical doctor. This report and CCHR does not offer medical advice or recommendations.