Singulair can cause hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, research suggests.
On the surface, it wouldn’t seem like there would be mental health issues associated with an asthma medication. As a respiratory condition that affects millions of people, asthma has the potential to significantly impact the quality of life enjoyed by all who deal with this issue. Drugs like Singulair promise to reduce the symptoms that are experienced by those with asthma, making it possible for them to enjoy some of their favorite activities once again.
But Singulair has been linked to potential side effects that would cause mental health issues for those taking the drug. Unfortunately, these side effects have been far from mild, as the drug has been connected to dozens of suicides and other cases of self-harm. Given the severity of the issues that have been experienced by some users of this medication, it’s important to take a closer look at the situation and what may need to change.
To be sure, Singulair is not a new entrant into the asthma medication market. In fact, this drug has been used for more than two decades and have been trusted by millions for the effect that it can have on asthma conditions. For most of that time, there was no warning that came along with the drug, so any potential mental health side effects were unknown to the people who were using the drug, and their guardians.
That changed in 2020. At that time, the FDA ruled that a black box warning label needed to be added to the drug’s packaging, informing users of the potential for neuropsychiatric events. While it might seem like such a stark warning would have a notable impact on how many people were willing to use the drug, that didn’t prove to be the case. In fact, the number of prescriptions that were filled for the drug hardly changed from one year to the next, and in 2022, still some 12 million were written.
Although Merck, the company behind Singulair, has downplayed the mental health concerns of the drug, an FDA investigation found more than enough to raise very serious worries. Specifically, more than 80 suicides have been linked to the drug, with almost 20 of those taking place in children. Those suicides occurred over a 20-year time period.
With that said, it is difficult to determine how frequently the drug causes mental health issues, as problems that are less severe and don’t lead to suicide or other notable self-harms might not be recorded or even told to anyone. So, to make a more accurate determination regarding the rate of problems that are seen with the drug, it will be necessary for the FDA to do more research.
Beyond the specifics of this case and how it plays out in court, all would agree that drugs prescribed to address certain medical conditions need to clearly disclose potential side effects, so users and their doctors can make a decision about the best course of action moving forward.