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Joint Statement on Atypical Antipsychotic Use in Children
Date:6/8/2009

WASHINGTON, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The below listed groups issued the following statement regarding the upcoming FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting on June 9-10:

As advocates for people living with mental illnesses, we strongly urge the FDA to carefully consider the importance of viable treatment options for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in pediatric and adolescent populations. Access to safe and effective treatments, including more information about all treatment options, is crucial to treating these serious and complex conditions in children and adolescents.

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are very real, life-threatening diseases which can appear in childhood and adolescence. For example, federally funded research (STEP-BD) found that, of 3,658 adult patients studied, 68% reported bipolar disease onset in childhood or adolescence. Patients with child onset had, on average, fewer days of euthymia (or neutral mood), greater impairment in functioning and poorer quality of life. Those with adolescent onset have better outcomes than those with child onset, but were still worse off than those who did not suffer from bipolar disorder until adulthood. These alarming statistics highlight the need for early recognition and treatment, which offers children and adolescents their best chance to achieve and maintain wellness.

We encourage an open and transparent scientific discourse about all pharmacologic treatments that come before the Advisory Committee and urge the Committee to carefully weigh the available evidence regarding safety and efficacy. No one treatment option works for all children. In order for physicians and families to make informed treatment decisions they need access to a full range of medications and treatment options and to the research regarding the risks and benefits of these treatments. More long-term clinical research in children and adolescents i
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SOURCE Mental Health America
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