News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

More surveillance of drugs is needed to protect public

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 11 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1124
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. London

    Doctors need to take the risk of psychiatric side effects from prescription drugs far more seriously than they currently do—and to be prepared to listen to patients who report adverse reactions to treatment.

    That was the message from a one day conference held in London last week by the charity the Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link (APRIL). The organisation was set up in 1998 by Millie Kieve, whose daughter, Karen, died after falling from a window. Mrs Kieve is convinced that it was her daughter's reactions to various drugs—including sulfasalazine for Crohn's disease and, six years later, co-cyprindiol (Diannette) for hormonal problems—that were to blame for the breakdowns and attacks of psychosis that preceded her death.

    Many people in the conference audience had experienced adverse psychiatric reactions themselves or cared for someone who had. They reported negative responses from doctors, who dismissed their concerns as “imagined” and were reluctant to listen to them.

    Charles Medawar, coauthor of a controversial study of adverse reactions to antidepressants reported by the …

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