Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Playing Pharmacist

I just ran into an article that I printed off the New York Times entitled "Young, Assured and Playing Pharmacist to Friends." It was published in November of last year but is still highly relevant. In a nutshell, people are trading in prescription medications. However, of late, this is not simply selling addictive drugs to those who use them. Instead of Oxycontin, these folks are sharing their psychiatric medications, often for what are thought to be more noble motives. Say your friend is depressed. You have some old Paxil lying around and you think it would be helpful to your friend. Why not save her some time and money and give her yours? No "middle men" involved. No insurance co-pays, no psychiatrists involved.
I find that there is a certain irony involved given that a newspaper for psychiatrists (Psychiatric News) recently ran a lead article entitled "Follow-Up Care often Lacking in Depression Treatment." The article is critical of doctors who prescribe antidepressants but do not see their patients for follow up in a timely fashion. Current FDA guidelines suggest patients be seen seven times during the first 12 weeks of taking an antidepressant due to risks of dangerous side effects. Yet some members of the public perceive taking an antidepressant as a "do-it-yourself" activity. Next will there be the publication of a book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Prescribing Psychotropic Medications?" Publishers please write to me care of this blog. The book could be a best seller, and I'd be happy to write it for you.
Incidentally for a good teen/young adult read (fictional) on this topic try RX by Tracy Lynn.

1 comment:

Danny Haszard said...

My issue is Zyprexa which is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
So how does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to 'encourage' doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved 'off label' uses.

The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.

Daniel Haszard