Psychoactive drug prescribing in japan: Epistemological and bioethical considerations

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (2):139-153 (1991)
Abstract
Today in Japan psychoactive drugs are widely prescribed for various psychiatric disorders including so-called ‘functional’ disorders. They are undoubtedly effective in relieving various psychological and behavioral symptoms. However, Japan has yet to address some basic questions: (1) uncertainty concerning the cause of various psychiatric functional disorders; (2) unknown factors that affect the function of psychotropic drugs in patients; (3) the difficulty in obtaining objective data concerning the effects of these medications * both on the brain and the psychological symptoms (behavior); and most importantly, (4) due to both the behavioral and organic (brain and CNS) effects of psychoactive drugs, the difficulty in evaluating the risk/benefit ratio between the behavioral (primary) effect and the organic (side) effect. In addition, there are bioethical problems, since these uncertainties tend to permit too broad a range of intention and too many modes of intervention in (a) prescribing and (b) taking psychoactive drugs on the part of therapists and patients, respectively. Though the increased risk of the inappropriate use of these drugs – the non-therapeutic uses, and their over-prescription – has been indicated in other industrialized countries, it has not yet been fully recognized and adequately discussed in Japan. Moreover, it is necessary to establish a sound basis for the ‘somato-psychic’ evaluation of these effects in the context of the physician-patient relationship, including the patient's family and even the broader society. Keywords: bioethics, pharmacological treatment, primary and secondary effects, psychiatric-functional disorders, risk/benefit ratio CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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