March 16th, 2011

Big Pharma Seeks Little Patients

The Epoch Times

While children have always had asthma and allergies, there are two changes since the legalization of direct-to-consumer advertising in the late 1990s: They are prescribing allergy drugs at younger ages—often as young as 1—and the medications are more dangerous.

The FDA now warns that the heavily advertised Serevent, Foradil, Advair, and Symbicort shouldn’t be used if an inhaled corticosteroid (like Flovent) is already working to control asthma and shouldn’t be used at all without an inhaled corticosteroid.

These drugs, called long-acting beta agonists or LABAs, were billed as add-on drugs to “control asthma” but sometimes worsen asthma and cause asthma-related intubation and death. (Yes, exactly what they were supposed to prevent!) And who are at the highest risk for harm and death from the drugs? Children 4 to 11 years old, according to the FDA.

Singulair is another allergy-asthma drug marketed to kids for symptoms that could just as easily be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines.

In addition to FDA warnings about psychiatric side effects and published suicides of children on the drug, Singulair is believed linked to the aggression, hostility, irritability, and other behavioral symptoms that are diagnosed as ADHD, says Fox News. Of course once a child is diagnosed with ADHD, more dangerous drugs are probably around the corner.

Still, pharma’s most-insidious war on children is probably trying to get babies on GERD medicines.

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