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Litigation and the toxicity of psychotropic drugs

  • Brian E Leonard (a1)

Extract

All drugs have side effects and given the increase in litigation for medical negligence that has occurred in Ireland in recent years, it would not be surprising to find that clinicians prescribing psychotropic drugs would also become the target for legal procedures if they fail to warn the patient about the possible side effects and toxicity of the drugs they are prescribing. The two extremes of the problem may be illustrated by the litigation carried out against some pharmaceutical firms and prescribers of benzodiazepines and the lack of such proceedings resulting from deaths of depressed patients who take an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant.

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References

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1.Lader, M. Epidemic in the making: benzodiazepine dependence. Tognani, G, Bellantuano, C, Lader, M eds. UB: Epidemiological impact of psychotropic drugs. Amsterdam, North Holland: Elsevier, Biomedical Press, 1981: 99105.
2.Tyrer, P. Risks of dependence on benzodiazepine drugs: the importance of patient selection. BMJ 1989; 298: 102–5.
3.Marks, J. The benzodiazepines: use, misuse, overuse and abuse. Lancaster: MTP Press, 1985.
4.Chaplin, S. Benzodiazepine prescribing. Lancet 1988; 1: 120–2.
5.Woods, JH, Katz, JL, Winter, G. Use and abuse of benzodiazepines: issues relevant to prescribing. J Am Med Assoc 1988; 260: 3476–80.
6.Cassidy, S, Henry, J. Fatal toxicity of antidepressant drugs in overdose. BMJ 1987; 295: 1021–24.
7.Farmer, RDT, Pinder, RM. Why do fatal overdose rates vary between antidepressants? Acta Psychiat Scand 1989; 80 (Suppl 354): 2535.
8.Leonard, BE. Tricyclic antidepressants: effective, cheap but are they safe? J Psychopharmac 1996; 10: 35–8.
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Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
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