New Jersey's 23rd Legislative District

Senator Michael Doherty

Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty Bill Requiring Parental Consent for Black Box Prescriptions Advances

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Legislation Protects Minors from Risks of Psychotropic Drugs

Senator Mike Doherty’s (R-23) legislation to protect minors from potentially dangerous prescription medications by requiring parental approval passed the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.

Sen.Mike Doherty’s legislation to protect minors from potentially dangerous prescription medications by requiring parental approval passed the Senate Health Committee. (WikiMedia)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently labels certain drugs with potential deadly side effects with a “black box warning.”

“Powerful psychotropic drugs sometimes prescribed for behavioral issues must be treated with caution, especially when given to children and young adults,” Doherty said. “We must ensure that parents and guardians should be informed of the risks and have an opportunity to weigh in on the recommended course of treatment. Guaranteeing parental consent will increase vigilance and prevent misuse, leading to a happier and healthier outcome for the child.”

Doherty’s bipartisan legislation, S-1642, would require physicians to obtain written consent from the parents or guardians of a minor prior to prescribing them psychotropic medications with a “black box” label.

The FDA requires pharmaceutical companies to place a “black box warning” on a drug label if medical studies indicate that the drug carries a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects.

A variety of medications carry a black box warning, including psychotropic medications that are typically prescribed to address mental health, emotional, or behavioral issues. A potential side effect is an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.

“If your child is a candidate for a black-box warning prescription, their physician should outline the advantages and potential adverse effects prior to prescribing the drug,” Doherty added. “Parents and guardians are ultimately responsible for the safety of medication in their home. Properly managing their psychotropic medications can help address the complex behavioral health needs of children and adolescents.

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