Having a child with a mental illness can seem like an endless maze with no way out. Most parents feel like they are completely over their heads. Because of this, they tend to defer to the experience and knowledge of the experts – the doctors and therapists who studied for years to treat these kinds of conditions.
Often, this means agreeing to medicate your child. Because it is what the doctor recommended. Unfortunately, psychiatric drugs can be incredibly tricky, and there are all kinds of stories out there about specific prescription drugs causing dangerous and abnormal effects in patients.
In some cases, medical professionals have changed their opinion on prescribing some of these drugs to young adults or minors after serious side effects made themselves known. Below you’ll find three such cases.
3 Cases of Minors Experiencing Horrible Side Effects of Mind-Altering Prescription Drugs
Boy on Risperdal Grows Female Breasts. Andrew Yount was 5 years old when he was first prescribed Risperdal, a drug designed to help with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. By the time he was 16 he had grown female-sized breasts. After filing a lawsuit, the family received $70 million dollars.
Yount’s breasts developed due to a condition called gynecomastia. Risperdal acknowledged that the condition was a possible side effect of the drug, but was found to have downplayed its effects and the possibility of it occurring to patients.
Yount’s case gave many victims of Risperdal the possibility to come forward and receive compensation for injuries. It was ruled that the drug had been improperly marketed not just to children, but to seniors as well.
Prozac May Cause Violent Behaviors in Teenagers. Prozac may be one of the most controversial antidepressants on the market. Part of the controversy comes from stories of teenagers and young adults who begin to commit gruesome acts after taking the drug.
In 2011, a Canadian high school student stabbed and killed his friend while hanging out at home. The teenager had no prior history of violence, so he was sentenced to three years in prison. That jail sentence was shortened, though, after a psychiatrist who specialized in treating kids claimed the boy’s actions were due to his exposure to Prozac.
When the teenager was initially put on Prozac, his parents noticed strange symptoms, including mood swings and anger. After these symptoms were expressed to doctors, the teenager’s dosage was doubled. Shortly after, he killed his friend.
Paxil: No Longer Safe for Teenagers. When information is published about a specific drug or medication, it is important to question that information and do further research. The debate over Paxil is a great example of why this further research is important.
In 2001, a study showed that the antidepressant Paxil was safe to prescribe to teenagers. However, there is a tricky element to scientific studies: they are subject to multiple – even contradicting – interpretations. In 2015, analysts reexamined the study and determined that Paxil was actually unsafe for teenagers and young adults.
These results are not surprising considering that there have been thousands of cases of individuals (of all ages) who have committed violent or suicidal acts while on Paxil. Of course, not all of these acts can be directly linked to taking the drug, but when thousands of cases have one factor in common, it tends to raise red flags.
Because of these flags, in 2012 Paxil was subject to one of the largest lawsuits of all time. GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay $3 billion over its skewed and illegal marketing tactics promoting Paxil, Welbutrin, and Avandia.
What to Do If Your Child Is Injured by Pharmaceutical Drugs
These examples are not meant to dissuade parents from using prescription drugs to help their children. Countless cases exist where drugs have been able to help minors with chemical imbalances and other medical issues.
The point is that you need to do your research before agreeing to anything and be aware that there is always the possibility that unintended or harmful symptoms may occur.
To best protect your child and yourself, here’s what you need to do. Keep track of their symptoms and moods before and after putting them on medication. Record any advice from your doctor as well.
If a pharmaceutical drug causes illness or injury to your child, contact an experienced New York personal injury lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable drug and pharmaceutical liability attorney can examine the facts of your case and determine whether or not the situation is the result of negligence, which would entitle you to compensation.
Experiencing something like this can be devastating for a child and his or her family, and the associated costs may be enormous. Help get your future back on track and prevent others from suffering a similar fate by holding those responsible accountable for their actions.