Daily News header

Should Your 3-Year-Old Be On Antidepressants?

By

Try to access the website of the Archives of General Psychiatry and you may have to abide an ad for the antidepressant Pristiq before you can enter. (JAMA and its Archives Journals "do not endorse the advertised product," you'll be assured.)

But look for a pharma affiliation for the author of the article "Preschool Depression," Joan L. Luby, MD in the August issue and you'll be told no "financial disclosure" was reported. Not that "Dr. Luby has received grant/research support from Janssen, has given occasional talks sponsored by AstraZeneca, and has served as a consultant for Shire Pharmaceutical," as a 2006 article in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says.

kidwithdepression
Even though the pharmaceutical industry has got 27 million Americans on antidepressants thanks to direct to consumer advertising - ten percent of the population - it is looking for depression in preschoolers. And guess what?

It's finding it!

It's easy to make jokes about "preschool depression" - students get it every time the alarm rings - but finding depression, "relapses," "chronicity" and "treatment resistance" in three-year-olds is not funny.

Researchers used to believe that "young children were too cognitively and emotionally immature to experience depressive effects," says Luby but now believe they can and do suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

"The potential public health importance of identification of preschool MDD is underscored by the established unique efficacy of early intervention during the preschool period in other childhood disorders," says Luby. "Based in part on the recurrent course and the relative treatment resistance of childhood MDD, there has been increased interest in the identification of the disorder at the earliest possible stage of development."

Translation: they want to screen your kid.

The case for a new social problem to be called preschool depression is so strong, there was only one real wrinkle in Ludy's longitudinal study of 304 preschoolers, funded by our tax dollars at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Instead of having "anxiety disorders" usually associated other MDD sufferers, the three and four-year-olds had "disruptive disorders." Possibly Play-Doh problems.

Undaunted, Luby says the preschoolers need to be screened for impending mental illness because their disruptive behavior "might be associated with social impairment and peer rejection that lead to later MDD."

Of course cynics will point out that drinking milk also predicts MDD and that disruptive behavior is the definition of a preschooler, making terms like preschool "social impairment and peer rejection" laughable academic babble.

But more concerning is what, exactly, is the "treatment" and "intervention" for the at-risk preschooler who might develop depression? And why the hurry?

Is it treatment with Janssen and AstraZenca antipsychotic drugs in which case the MDD is really a Risperdal or Seroquel deficiency?

Like Rebecca Riley given Seroquel at two and dead at four?

And the late Destiny Hager who was given Seroquel at three?

Is the "intervention" like the two children the Miami Herald says Mirko and Regina Ceska of Crawfordville, FLA adopted from state foster care who were so doped up on antipsychotics the couple asked Gov. Charlie Crist if "chemical restraints" were "prerequisites" in foster care?

Only to have Crist's head of the Department of Children and Families, George Sheldon, ask them to testify at the investigation into the death of foster care seven-year-old, Gabriel Myers, earlier this year, on similar drugs?

It is not a coincidence that 3,100 or 15.5 percent of the Florida's 20,000 children in state care are on psychoactive drugs, legally prescribed or not, a figure that likely applies to other states.

Do you think private plans will pay $900 a month per patient for a branded blockbuster drug that may not even be necessary?
No wonder pharma sits in so many "advisory positions" on state formularies, tampering with drug decision algorithms.

In fact, Texas charged Janssen in December with defrauding the state of millions "with their sophisticated and fraudulent marketing scheme," to "secure a spot for the drug, Risperdal, on the state's Medicaid preferred drug list and on controversial medical protocols that determine which drugs are given to adults and children in state custody."

In addition to giving trips, perks and kickbacks to Texas' mental health officials, says the Dallas News, Janssen disguised marketing tools as scientific research "including 'independent' articles that were nothing of the kind."

Imagine that.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Health News News

Could eating spicy peppers help prevent or slow down some intestinal cancers? A UC San Diego School of Medicine research team investigates.
The deadline for the realization of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by countries of the world is drawing to a close in 2015. The progress on MDGs might have been with mixed results, but lot of lessons need to be learnt while we frame n
In the year 2000, countries of the world had agreed to meet the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Numerous consultative processes have been taking place around the world on what should be the development goals post-2015.
Martha Rosenberg investigates a proposal that people watch the animals they eat being killed. Some say it encourages insensitivity and lack of empathy for suffering.
The first estimates of the global burden of TB in children given by the WHO in 2012, suggested that there might be 530,000 children suffering from it. Subsequently there has been an uptake in the research in this field.
We know that nearly one third of the 35 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) have tuberculosis (TB), and 13% of 8.6 million new TB cases every year are HIV positive. Also 1 in 5 HIV associated deaths are due to TB.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site