Combating Five Myths on Psychotropic Medication Treatments

Julie Zito, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Pharmacy and Psychiatry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore

Objective: To engage NARPA members in addressing topics of concern regarding the scientific knowledge base on psychopharmacologic treatments and to identify an audience-driven advocacy agenda to improve informed medication use.

Method: A review of the psychopharmacologic knowledge base was undertaken to identify five topics in need of public dissemination, discussion and advocacy planning.

Results: Five myths include:

  1. Newer drugs are better and safer. Recently approved esketamine nasal product will be reviewed;
  2. Clinical trials are adequate to market new drugs. Key limitations of trials will be discussed, e.g. small samples; short exposures; simple criteria; median aged populations; narrow diagnostic criteria.
  3. Post-marketing safety isn’t necessary. The case of atypical antipsychotics and treatment-emergent type 2 diabetes illustrates the problem.
  4. Deregulation isn’t a problem for prescription drugs. Challenges related to the 21 st Century Cures Act will be explored.
  5. Children are just little adults: examples of off-label antipsychotic prescribing will illustrate concerns for medicating very young children to treat behavioral problems.

Conclusion: The goal is to engage the audience in building an advocacy agenda around one or more of the topics with clear goals in the coming year.