SSRIs: Off-label prescribing and your child

Being a mother can be a real bitch.

Nothing you do is right. You’re too strict. You’re not strict enough. Your kid is sick because she was vaccinated. Your kid is sick because she wasn’t vaccinated. In fact, your kid is a danger to every other child in the entire world.

Nothing you do is right, and it’s all your fault. Especially if your kid is “one of those”.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to deal with a difficult child is to medicate them with drugs. The societal pressure is overwhelming. Prozac seems to be a favourite amongst GPs and psychiatrists nowadays. Sound familiar?  “You’ll love what Prozac can do for your child! In fact, you’ll regret that you didn’t put Little Johnnie on it! He’ll sit better in school, be more compliant, and people won’t give you dirty looks in public because Little Johnnie is being a brat”.


SSRIs (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, and others) have never been approved for use for anyone still breathing under the age of 18 in Canada.

Off-label prescribing – what is it and why it’s dangerous

When doctors prescribe a medication for a disease that has not been approved by Health Canada, this is called Off-label prescribing.

This study from the New England Journal of Medicine determined that the overall prevalence of off-label prescribing in Québec was 11% of all prescriptions (only 113 doctors agreed to participate in the study).  The highest prevalence was for psychiatric drugs. For example, 43% of all anti-psychotics were prescribed off-label, as were 33% of antidepressants.

In cases of specific drugs such as quinine sulfate (Qualaquin), gabapentin (Neurontin) and clonazepam (Klonopin) over 95% of prescriptions were off label.

U.S. studies have estimated that off-label prescribing occurs with 21% of prescribed drugs. The highest rates of off-label prescribing were for anticonvulsants (74%), antipsychotics (60%) and antibiotics (42%).

Here’s the best part: 79% of all off-label prescriptions are not supported by scientific evidence.

But I digress.

Keep your children safe from pharmaceutical harm

Once you’ve finished reading this paragraph, you’ll see a link to a YouTube lecture by the inestimable Peter Gøtzsche.  He is a specialist in internal medicine; worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry 1975-1983, and in hospitals in Copenhagen from 1984 to 1995. He co-founded The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year. He became Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen. He is a strong campaigner for clinical data transparency.

Translation: he has systematically exposed how appallingly bad the state of affairs in psychiatry really is.

Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to what one of the world’s leading non-partisan and critical experts in medicine has to say about it.

Watch this video. It might be the most important hour you’ll ever spend in front of the computer in your entire life.


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