|By Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
A judge in the case ruled that under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, "parents have the right to be fully informed about the potential efficacy of a drug," said
Anyone who bought Celexa for someone under 18 from 1998 to 2013 or Lexapro from 2002 to 2013 is eligible for partial to full refunds, or
If finalized, the settlement allows for plaintiffs' attorneys to receive up to 34 percent of the award, plus
Several psychiatrists also said they were misled by the company. In his expert testimony in the case, Dr.
The charges also said that
Representatives for Forest did not respond to interview requests. The company remains under a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the
The <location value="LS/us.mo" idsrc="xmltag.org">Missouri case is the first of several class action lawsuits to call for refunds because of the company's illegal marketing practices. Forest has already agreed to pay out
One of the cases involved 13-year-old
In 2004, the
According to the
Off-label drug use for children is common in psychiatric care, mainly because clinical trials needed for a drug's approval have historically excluded children. While the amount of data has increased recently, doctors still face tough decisions about using unapproved drugs to treat children, said Dr.
"We know depression happens in children," Glueck said. "Children even in the preschool ages can have depression and anxiety. The disorders don't make an age distinction, only the studies do. When prescribing for any age, you closely look at all of the information on a medication and openly discuss risks and limitations with the family in order to help them make the best decision for their child."
When included along with therapy, antidepressants can be appropriate for some children whose depression is so severe "they are unable to function in their daily lives," Glueck said. "When part of a comprehensive treatment plan, this group of medicines can be one of the important tools that are beneficial to patients who have significant impairment."
This year, Celexa has been prescribed to 6,103
Mattingly and Barash could not be reached for comment.
The drugs continue to be prescribed to thousands of children "because pharmaceutical companies have done a marvelous marketing job. It's easy to sell a lie but much harder to sell a correction, to paraphrase Mark Twain," said Dr.
Healy said the drugs have not been shown to be effective in children or teenagers and are potentially dangerous.
"The risk from treatment is greater than the risk from the illness," he said.
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