If you think meds are bad when used the "right" way... you should see what happens when they're used off-label.
Patients get all the risks--and none of the rewards.
Just look at the latest research out of Britain, which links atypical antipsychotic drugs to a dramatic rise in potentially deadly blood clots.
These are powerful brain-bending drugs approved for high-risk mental disorders such as schizophrenia... but they're given so commonly, casually and frequently that many patients may not even be aware of the drug's real use.
And along with a med that may not even work, these patients could be getting up to triple the risk of a blood clot.
British researchers compared data on 25,500 patients who were treated for a deep vein blood clot or pulmonary embolism between 1996 and 2007 to the records of 90,000 people who did not suffer from the clots during those years.
Overall, they found that antipsychotic meds increased the risk of a blood clot by 32 percent, and that risk doubled in the first three months.
But the highest risk of all came from the newer atypical antipsychotics. Overall, patients on these drugs had a 73 percent boost in the blood clot risk--but one drug in particular stood out.
And it's the granddaddy of all off-label meds.
Seroquel, a drug given off-label up to three-quarters of the time, tripled the risk of a blood clot, according to the study in BMJ Online First.
Approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, Seroquel is frequently prescribed for insomnia, obsessive/compulsive disorder, anxiety and even dementia--despite no solid evidence it can do anything for any of those conditions.
U.S. soldiers have even been given this med off-label for post-traumatic stress... and, tragically, some have died shortly after taking it.
Earlier this year, AstraZeneca paid more than half a billion dollars to settle charges that it illegally marketed the med for off-label uses--but that's not a deterrent.
In fact, it's chump change next to the $1.3 billion in sales Seroquel did in the first three months of this year alone.
Meanwhile, other atypical antipsychotics are prescribed for everything from nausea to vertigo--putting people with even minor complaints at risk for a deadly blood clot.
Call that one more reason to ask questions before you take any pill--and you can start with the basics: "Is this drug approved for my condition?"