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Did the medication cause a young girl's mood disorder?
THE PATIENT. A young girl was prescribed paroxetine after complaining of stomachaches and headaches.
CASE FACTS. The patient saw many healthcare providers and received several different medications until a psychiatrist diagnosed the girl with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, prescribed numerous medications, and hospitalized the patient. The girl was released then readmitted to another hospital, where a different psychiatrist tapered several medications and left her on low doses of clonazepam and topiramate. The patient improved and returned home. Later she stopped taking her medications, became psychotic, and was rehospitalized. The patient was then tapered off all medications and her condition returned to normal.
THE PATIENT’S CLAIM. She was not bipolar and had a substance-induced mood disorder caused by the medications she had been prescribed.
THE PSYCHIATRISTS’ DEFENSE. The patient was bipolar.
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Cases are selected by current psychiatry from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of its editor, Lewis Laska of Nashville, TN (www.verdictslaska.com). Information may be incomplete in some instances, but these cases represent clinical situations that typically result in litigation.