News Article

Master of Reality

Ozzy: My doctor overmedicated me. Medical board is investigating the no-longer-shaky rocker's doc for overprescribing drugs to other celebrity patients

Viewers of the second season of MTV's ''The Osbournes'' may have cringed at seeing Ozzy Osbourne appear more addled and clumsier than ever. Now, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have an explanation. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, they say Ozzy was overmedicated by his doctor, David A. Kipper, who, unknown to the Osbournes, was under investigation for overprescribing drugs to other celebrity clients. Last week, the California medical board moved to revoke Dr. Kipper's license on grounds of gross negligence, the Times reports.

''I was wiped out on pills,'' said Ozzy. ''I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. I could barely stand up. I was lumbering about like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It got to the point where I was scared to close my eyes at night --afraid I might not wake up.''

Recovering alcoholic Ozzy became Dr. Kipper's patient after falling off the wagon in June 2002, reports the Times, which obtained from the family their prescription records and receipts. He underwent Kipper's 10-day crash-rehab program. Shortly afterward, when Sharon's diagnosis of colon cancer sent Ozzy into an emotional tailspin, Kipper prescribed drugs to combat his anxiety and depression. He also prescribed anti-anxiety drugs for Sharon while she was undergoing chemotherapy. ''It's like we let him just take over our lives,'' Sharon said of Kipper, who ultimately billed them $650,000 for his services over 15 months. The family spent another $58,000 on prescriptions.

At one point, Ozzy says, he was taking as many as 42 pills a day, powerful antidepressants, amphetamines, and even antipsychotic medications that included Valium, Dexedrine, Adderall, Ambien, Mysoline, and Zyprexa. In August, after Ozzy stumbled through a rendition of ''Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' during a nationally televised Chicago Cubs game, the family fired Kipper. Ozzy sought treatment from Dr. Allan Ropper in Boston, who reduced the rocker's daily prescriptions to three drugs meant to treat what Ropper diagnosed as a hereditary tremor.

Kipper told the Times that ''ethical and medical privacy laws'' prevented him from commenting on the Osbournes' care. He said in a statement, ''I have only good wishes for Mr. Osbourne and for his family and for their good health.'' Kipper's attorney, John D. Harwell, also declined to comment, except to tell the Times, ''I can tell you that virtually every allegation you are reporting is inaccurate, incomplete, or ... false.''

Originally posted Dec 08, 2003