Males with schizophrenia attempt suicide at a much higher rate than females; approximately 60% of them will make at least one attempt. The result of these attempts is that between 10% and 15% of people with schizophrenia have historically committed suicide. (NIMH)
Psychiatrists should counsel parents with children with schizophrenia to be aware of this. My son committed suicide after one year of having schizoaffective disorder and being put on a high dose of Seroquel. It was only two years after his suicide that a suicide warning was put on the medicine label (2016). My son’s psychiatrist (Dr. Edward Oklan, San Rafael, CA) received payments from the pharmaceutical industry for prescribing Seroquel. He prescribed dosages as high as 2000 mg per day. This dosage is 1400 mg higher than the highest tested dosage (600 mg) by the pharmaceutical manufacturer. There are no checks on the dosages that psychiatrists can prescribe. When we told our psychiatrist that we thought the dosages were too high, he simply told us to look for another psychiatrist if we didn’t trust his judgement.
Parents should check the Open Payments database to check if the psychiatrist they are considering receives payments for prescribing a certain type of antipsychotic.
Doctors and hospitals having financial relationships with health care manufacturing companies stimulated the creation of Open Payments, a federally run transparency program begun in 2014 that collects information about these financial relationships and makes it available to the public. These relationships can involve money for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel. One of the ways Open Payments provides this data to the public is through a search tool, which allows an individual to search for a doctor or teaching hospital that has received payments or a company that has made payments. Exploring this information and discussing the results found with your healthcare provider can help to make more informed healthcare decisions.
More information about the program can be found on the Open Payments website www.OpenPaymentsData.cms.gov. There you can get an overview of the data that’s been collected and displayed and learn more about the context around the data. For questions about the data, contact the Open Payments team at firstname.lastname@example.org.