Pediatricians are now required to get approval before giving a child an atypical drug, such as Zyprexa, Abilify or Risperdal. This requirement is a step that was recently taken by Florida health officials to slow down the use of antipsychotic drugs for children.
Atypical drugs became popular in the 1990s as a way to treat adult schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but have since been prescribed to treat just about any ailment. These potent drugs have even been used to calm uncontrollable children, which falls under the category of an “off-label” use, since it was not an approved use of the drug.
Drug manufacturers are not allowed to promote drugs for off-label uses, but pediatric prescriptions have still soared for atypical drugs over the years. Representatives from drug manufacturers have been known to drop off samples at pediatricians’ offices, which encouraged pediatricians to prescribe these medications to children.
Atypical drugs have dangerous side effects, including diabetes and weight gain. These medications have not been approved for preschoolers, which prompted Florida health officials to take action.
When a child is on the Medicaid program, the pediatrician must fax a request to prescribe an atypical drug. The request is reviewed by a Medicaid pharmacist who approves or rejects it.
If your child has suffered a serious side effect from an antipsychotic drug, you should seek legal advice. Contact the Law Office of Lilly, O’Toole & Brown, LLP at (863) 683-1111 to review your case.