Thursday, August 14, 2008

FDA Psychiatry Chief Refuses To Address Questions About Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

Two weeks ago, the FDA announced that pediatric bipolar disorder--aka, child bipolar disorder, juvenile bipolar disorder, etc.--was a valid diagnosis, despite the fact that it doesn't exist in the DSM and child psychiatrists cannot even agree amongst themselves whether the disorder exists, whether it's a proxy term for something else, and what its exact symptomology might be much less its supposed pathology. The announcement occurred in an odd way--one of the inventors of child bipolar disorder, Harvard's Janet Wozniak, asserted in a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe that the FDA considered "pediatric bipolar disorder"--her term--a valid diagnosis. That was news to me, so I queried the FDA and was told that, why yes indeedy, the agency considered the diagnosis real. Despite approving two drugs (Risperdal and Abilify, both atypical antipsychotics) for the treatment of pediatric bipolar disorder in kids aged 10 to 17 in the last year, the agency had not taken any sort of public stance on the existence of the disorder in kids and teens. Now it has.


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