In 1973, psychiatrist George Crane gained the attention of the medical community by disclosing that many, and perhaps most, long-term neuroleptic patients were developing a largely irreversible, untreatable neurological disorder, tardive dyskinesia. The disease, even its mild forms, is often disfiguring, with involuntary movements of the face, mouth or tongue. Frequently, the patients grimace in a manner that makes them look “crazy”, undermining their credibility with other people. In more severe cases, patients become disabled by twitches, spasms, and other abnormal movements of any muscle groups, including those of the neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs, and hands and feet. The muscles of respiration and speech can also be impaired. In the worst cases, patients thrash about continually.
Growing evidence indicates that these drugs also produce tardive psychoses that are irreversible and more severe than the patients’ prior problems. In children, permanent behavioral or mental disorders frequently develop as a result of the drugs. Furthermore, drug withdrawal often causes a rebound of the anticholinergic neurotransmitter system, resulting in a flu-like syndrome that includes emotional upset, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. Many patients find themselves unable to stop taking the drugs, suggesting that we should consider them as addictive.
Articles on neuroleptics and their side effects
- Should the use of neuroleptics be severely limited?
- The Menninger Clinic case: Patient dies in clinical trial of antipsychotic drug
- Brain damage, dementia and persistent cognitive dysfunction associated with neuroleptic drugs (PDF)
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, Tardive Dyskinesia, Tardive Dystonia, and Tardive Akathisia (PDF)
- Parallels between Neuroleptic Effects and Lethargic Encephalitis (PDF)
- $6.7 million awarded by jury in Risperdal® TD case
- Jury awards $1.3 million to TD victim: Appeals judge ups award to $2 million, citing Dr. Breggin’s testimony
- TD case settled after Dr. Breggin’s testimony
- Landmark victory in first Canadian TD case
The following books by Dr. Peter Breggin contain further information on neuroleptic medication