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Military taking steps to limit use of antipsychotics for PTSD

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

US ArmyThe Philadelphia Inquirer reports about the Pentagon’s recent steps to limit the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in U.S. military personnel. The steps were taken in response to widespread concerns about overprescription of these drugs in the military.

This initiative, however, won’t help people like Stan and Shirley White, who have already lost their son to an overdose of antipsychotic and other drugs. After his 300 missions as a combat engineer in the Marine Corps Reserve, Stan and Shirley’s son Andrew suffered from intense PTSD and received a medical discharge.

A doctor treating Andrew at a nearby Veterans Administration hospital prescribed him Paxil, Klonopin, and Seroquel; it was this “lethal cocktail” that eventually killed Andrew in his sleep.

In February, Assistant Secretary of Defense Jonathan Woodson sent the following memo to all branches of the military: “The greatest concern is the suspicion of the overprescription of antipsychotic medications for PTSD.” He added that military antidepressant use had changed little between 2002 and 2009, but that prescription rates for atypical antipsychotics had increased during that period from 0.1 percent to 1 percent.



Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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