Friday, March 09, 2007

Dimetapp or Zyprexa?

It appears that the FDA is conducting an investigation of the safety of over the counter cold medications for children. Apparently, the safety of these medications in children is largely unknown despite their widespread use in kids. There are also concerns that in overdose, these meds may be harmful or perhaps fatal.

I appreciate that the FDA is getting off its duff, but Stephany at the Soulful Sepulcher has an even better idea -- how about the FDA investigating the safety of psychiatric medications in kids? Something tells me that Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Depakote might, just maybe, have more safety issues in kids than Dimetapp or Robitussin. Hey, maybe there is a problem with the cold meds, but can we at least consider that heavy duty psych meds might also impact the health of youth? After all, meds such as the atypical antipsychotics are experiencing quite the boom in prescriptions for kids -- wouldn't we want to be sure that this boom was not leading to a corresponding increase in health problems?

4 comments:

Stephany said...

Thanks for the link,and continuing my thought regarding psych med use in kids. It might be interesting to note; that my daughter also had severe reactions using dextromethorphan (Delsym) cough syrup. As a teenager that stuff wired her. There is a database that shows this common ingredient in cold/cough medicines can be similar to using ecstasy. Imagine Zyprexa and Delsym used together.

Thanks-Stephany

Ruth said...

Stephany - I can imagine. As a 15-year-old, I was prescribed Aurorix and Codral cold & flu tablets at the same time. The pseudoephedrine in Codral, which can wire you under any circumstances, was psychological dynamite when combined with an MAOI. Having never experienced anything remotely resembling psychosis, I became convinced that anthropologists had it wrong; that intelligent humankind had been around for at least a couple of hundred million years and the civilisation had repeatedly annihilated itself with nuclear weapons during this time. This information was conveyed to me from from depths of time and the centre of the earth through a grille in my bedroom floor, which I suppose was a psychotic metaphor for an archaeological dig, where the further underground you go, the older everything is. Scary stuff!

So, there's not just a need to consider the potentially appalling effects that anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs might have on children, but the possibility of negative interactions with over-the-counter medications commonly given to children that may lead to the misperception of a deterioration or metamorphosis of a child's alleged "psychiatric condition".

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure this statement is fair or accurate "Something tells me that Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Depakote might, just maybe, have more safety issues in kids than Dimetapp or Robitussin."

While there is probably good clinical evidence about the severity of adverse events or side-effects in anti-psychotics, serious adverse events or serious side-effects are more limited. In addition, anti-psychotics are prescription only (at least in US) and used in a much smaller population than OTC cold medicines.

The total exposure to cold medicines and their frequent side effects (including death, with probably more frequency than anti-psychotics NOT INCLUDING suicidality or suicide) would probably indicate just as important a public health problem.

(I haven't researched the hard data but may try if I can.)

CL Psych said...

I was referring to a head to head comparison for any given individual -- if little Amy is taking Zyprexa versus taking Dimetapp, I'd be more concerned about the Zyprexa.

Now, if you're talking about total exposure, I've no doubt you're correct that cold meds are much more commonly prescribed and are probably related to more problems. But when one considers the rapidly increasing prescription rate for antipsychotics for young kids, I think it's a legitimate concern.