The Army Surgeon General’s office is backing away from its long-standing endorsement of prescribing troops multiple highly addictive psychotropic drugs for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and early this month warned regional medical commanders against using tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium to treat PTSD.
An April 10 policy memo that the Army Medical Command released regarding the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD said a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which include Xanax and Valium, could intensify rather than reduce combat stress symptoms and lead to addiction.
The memo, signed by Herbert Coley, civilian chief of staff of the Army Medical Command, also cautioned service clinicians against prescribing second-generation antipsychotic drugs, such as Seroquel and Risperidone, to combat PTSD.
In a June 2010 report, the Defense Department’s Pharmacoeconomic Center said 213,972, or 20 percent of the 1.1 million active-duty troops surveyed, were taking some form of psychotropic drug — antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedative hypnotics or other controlled substances.
The Army’s new PTSD policy makes it clear that the risk of treating combat stress with benzodiazepines outweighs the rewards: “Benzodiazepine use should be considered relatively contraindicated in combat veterans with PTSD because of the high co-morbidity of combat-related PTSD with alcohol misuse and substance use disorders (up to 50 percent co-morbidity)
Bostwick wrote “benzodiazepine administration fails to prevent PTSD and may increase its incidence.
Seroquel has been implicated in the deaths of combat veterans and the Veterans Affairs Department reported in August 2011 that Risperidone was no more effective in PTSD treatment than a placebo. VA spent $717 million on the drug over the past decade. The military has spent $74 million over the past 10 years on Risperidone, a spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency said.
The Army also has ignored the role antipsychotic drugs play in the “sudden deaths” of troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury due to undiagnosed endocrine abnormalities Jackson said.
- Benzos Fail to Prevent, May Increase PTSD (madinamerica.com)
- Army’s new PTSD guidelines fault Madigan’s screening tests (stripes.com)
- PTSD and Violence (lizabethf.wordpress.com)
- Army Surgeon General’s Office Warns Against Benzodiazepines and Antipsychotics (madinamerica.com)
- Army warns against benzos and antipsychotics in PTSD: they can “intensify symptoms and lead to addiction” (beyondmeds.com)
- Rising Vets Suicides – Heart Centered Approach needed (veteranstoday.com)
- Little Evidence for a Direct Link between PTSD and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (neurocritic.blogspot.com)
- Are ADHD Drugs Causing PTSD? (madinamerica.com)
- Little Evidence for a Direct Link between PTSD and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (neurocritic.blogspot.de)
- How many of you knew this? (homecomingvets.wordpress.com)