Abilify for Kids!
Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic developed for adult schizophrenia, has recently been approved for irritability and self harm in children (aged 6-17) diagnosed with autism — an antipsychotic! These companies are out of control with their attempts to extend the range of approvals for their atypicals and Abilify seems to be leading the pack, chronologically, at least. It was also the first to get approved as an add-on for depression.
Autism is a difficult thing to contend with — I know first hand — but to dose a kid up on schizophrenia drugs to control irritability is truly beyond comprehension. I’m sure there has been plenty of off-label use in just this capacity but one must wonder if the FDA even cares what they pass anymore. I’ve long given up wondering if there are any consciences at the tops of these companies.
Add this to the pile of proof positive that atypicals are the new restraints. Consider the many uses for which these drugs are being granted approval and used off-label, and then think back. How many of these same “symptoms” were formerly handled with physical restraints of the most barbaric kind? They are actually being used even more generally and increasingly in younger kids with more mild behavioral problems. For those who think we should be grateful for less barbaric restraints, think again. We don’t need alternative abuses but true treatment. Putting the shackles or strait jackets or five-point restraints in a bottle is not the same as treating a disease or a disorder. It is no less barbaric or abusive under the guise of legitimate medicine. This isn’t a kinder, gentler approach anyway. Not when you see kids growing up with any number of very real ailments, like diabetes, cognitive dysfunction and tardive dyskenesia — and that’s just the ones that make it past the strokes. Oh and by the way, Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of wonder drug Abilify, just closed on Monday with stocks at a record high for the year. Some people know a cash cow when they see it.
I know that many parents are truly desperate for answers, options and alternatives in addressing autism and related behavioral issues and we should be finding them but drug companies cannot continue to be allowed to determine the standard of care. Antipsychotic use in children both on and off label is out of control and has been for some time and irritability in children with or without autism is not psychosis. After all this time, we still have a very narrow understanding of the mind and the brain is perhaps an even greater mystery. So how can we be so bold as to take something so intricate and foreign to us and try to fix it with the biggest hammer we can find? Some answers will not be found in a bottle, no matter how desperately they are sought and trading away health for desirable behavior –while great for investors and easiest for educators and often even parents — is always going to a bad choice for children.