June 17, 2007


Backlash on bipolar diagnoses in children: MGH psychiatrist's work stirs debate (Scott Allen, June 17, 2007, Boston Globe)

No one has done more to convince Americans that even small children can suffer the dangerous mood swings of bipolar disorder than Dr. Joseph Biederman of Massachusetts General Hospital. [...]

But the death in December of a 4-year-old Hull girl from an overdose of drugs prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has triggered a growing backlash against Biederman and his followers. Rebecca Riley's parents have been charged with deliberately giving the child overdoses of Clonidine, a medication sometimes used to calm aggressive children. Still, many wondered why a girl so young was being treated in the first place with Clonidine and two other psychiatric drugs, including one not approved for children's use. Riley's psychiatrist has said she was influenced by the work of Biederman and his protege, Dr. Janet Wozniak. [...]

Part of the criticism of Biederman speaks to a deeper issue in psychiatry: the extensive financial ties between the drug industry and researchers. Biederman has received research funding from 15 drug companies and serves as a paid speaker or adviser to seven of them, including Eli Lilly & Co. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which make the multi billion-dollar antipsychotic drugs Zyprexa and Risperdal, respectively. Though not much money was earmarked for bipolar research, critics say the resources help him advance his aggressive drug treatment philosophy.

Numerous psychiatrists say Riley's overdose suggests that bipolar disorder is becoming a psychiatric fad, leaving thousands of children on risky medications based on symptoms such as chronic irritability and aggressiveness that could have other causes.

You know the old saying: Spare the Ritalin, spoil the parent's peace and quiet...

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2007 8:17 AM

Sounds like a case of drug-induced nineteenth trimester abortion to me, which so far as I know is still illegal. The kid was just sooo annoying.

It's disgusting to see the parents dumping on poor Drs. Biederman and Wozniak. It's their job to push as many pills as they can. Consequences are not their department.

Posted by: Ed Bush at June 17, 2007 10:10 AM

The poor kid was one of the ones who got away, but apparently not far enough away. How many childless couples would have been delighted to take her off their hands and love and cherish her.

Posted by: erp at June 17, 2007 12:01 PM

adults & kids w/ bipolar need to be very careful to take the CORRECT PRESCRIBED RX DOSAGES

i'm a 62 yr old adult
diagnosed 25 yrs ago w/ ATYPICAL bipolar

after 25 yrs of many RXs a day i've found its best for me to load a 7 day separated pill carrier all at one time ... because ...

i don't always remember if / when i took ALL my 15 RXs = 20 different pills
separately from each of their bottles ...

daily i take:

9 different psychotropic RXS ... & ... YES
every one of them is needed
+ thyroid
+ allergy pill & spray
+ centrum silver vitamin
+ fish oil (omega 3) 2400 mg

+ VPAP machine every night for
chonic obstructive sleep apnea

to maintain stability ...

fewer pills in larger sizes are available ...
i choose the smaller pills ...
so i can swallow them easily & quickly

i never took a pill my enire life except an occasional RX from a dr ...

the past 25 yrs
since being diagnosed w/ ATYPICAL bipolar
its been necessary to take a few RXs daily
to maintain stability

sometimes i think about stopping them ... til i remember without them i can't function ...

i've accepted the FACT as diabetics have ...
i'll be on RXs the rest of my life ... or ...
until they find a cure

Posted by: tx dawn at June 19, 2007 6:26 PM