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Study: Patients with schizophrenia fare better with fewer meds, more therapy

Patients with schizophrenia who were given smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs along with individual talk therapy and family support fared far better than patients who got the usual drug-focused care, a new landmark study has found. More than two million people in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Treatment typically involves high doses of antipsychotic drugs, such as Risperdal, in order to quell hallucinations and delusions. But the side effects can be brutal. Antipsychotic drugs can cause weight gain, diabetes, and debilitating movement disorders. Risperdal, one of the few schizophrenia treatments approved for children and adolescents, has also been ... Read More

Autism treatment exposes children to serious side effects

Risperidone was the first drug approved to treat children with autism and can help reduce irritability, but the side effects are alarming, according to an informal analysis of the drug. Risperidone, also known by the brand name Risperdal, is an antipsychotic medication approved to treat adults and children with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and irritability with autism. It is also prescribed off-label for various behavior problems including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention-deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety and depression. Risperidone has shown to be an effective treatment for the explosive and aggressive behavior expressed by some people with autism, taming tantrums in a ... Read More

Millions of children exposed to serious Risperdal side effects

More than a million children in the United States take antipsychotic drugs each year, and tens of thousands of them are younger than 5 years of age, according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report. But many child health experts warn that medicating children with the drugs can have dangerous consequences. Antipsychotics have been linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes, as well as growth of female breasts in boys. “We really don’t know enough about the safety and effectiveness of these drugs,” says Dr. Tobias Gerhard, assistant professor at Rutgers University. Tobias studies prescription rates of antipsychotics ... Read More

Pros and cons of birth control pills for nuns

For centuries, nuns have been at greater risk for developing breast, ovarian and uterine cancers – diseases that are more common in women who do not have children. But a new study published in The Lancet suggests nuns could greatly reduce their risk of these deadly cancers if they started taking birth control pills. By taking a vow of celibacy, nuns deny themselves pregnancy and lactation, which means they have more menstrual cycles. Statistically, women who have more periods tend to be at greater risk for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. Comparatively, women who have babies beginning at a young ... Read More