Inappropriate Antipsychotic Prescriptions to Children Keep Increasing

Rob Wipond
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Clinicians are following best practice guidelines only half of the time when they are giving antipsychotic medications to children, according to a study in Vermont published in Pediatrics. And the prescriptions were for FDA-approved indications for the drugs only one-fourth of the time.

The University of Vermont researchers investigated all cases of antipsychotic medication prescription for Medicaid-insured children in Vermont in half of 2012, and got an 80% response to their survey from clinicians.

“Overall, the clinical indication for an antipsychotic prescription followed best practice guidelines 91.7% of the time, with overall best practice guidelines followed at a rate of 50.1%,” they wrote. “An FDA indication was followed in 27.2% of cases.”

They stated that the medications “were typically used only after other pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments were ineffective,” but then noted that “previous treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy was uncommon (15.5%).” Many physicians were diverting from best practices by not regularly monitoring the impacts of the drugs on children’s metabolisms, blood glucose and cholesterol.

“Part of our concern is that these medicines may be getting pulled out too early in the treatment planning for things like oppositional behavior, ahead of things like behavioral therapy that could be tried first,” the lead author said on PsychCentral.

Antipsychotics For Poor Kids Are Booming, It’s Time To Look At Prescriber Decision-Making (Science 2.0, March 2, 2015)

Why Are More Kids on Antipsychotics? (PsychCentral, March 3, 2015)

Rettew, David C., Jeanne Greenblatt, Jody Kamon, Diane Neal, Valerie Harder, Richard Wasserman, Patricia Berry, Charles D. MacLean, Nancy Hogue, and William McMains. “Antipsychotic Medication Prescribing in Children Enrolled in Medicaid.” Pediatrics, March 2, 2015, peds.2014–2260. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2260. (Abstract)

6 COMMENTS

    • We all know why it’s happening. The ADHD drugs and antidepressants are causing psychosis, mania, and a host of other adverse effects in the children. And since the doctors don’t want to confess these new symptoms were caused by the prior drugs, they majorly tranquilize the children with the antipsychotics instead. It’s a very profitable pyramidal scheme for the entire medical community. But it’s morally repugnant.

    • “Part of our concern is that these medicines may be getting pulled out too early in the treatment planning for things like oppositional behavior, ahead of things like behavioral therapy that could be tried first,”

      This is upside down and backwards. Oppositional behaviour is not an illness and should not be “treated” with drugs no matter how p***ed off you may be by the kid. It’s insane. We don’t have misbehaving kids anymore nor do we have criminals – we have “mentally ill in need of treatment”. And then they will use the same circular logic to show that “mentally ill” are aggressive and/or prone to violence. Psychiatry’s logic can drive the most sane person insane in 5 minutes.

      • And these naughty children should absolutely not be put on drugs known to cause the schizophrenia symptoms. “neuroleptics … may result in … the anticholinergic intoxication syndrome … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

  1. Every since being a little girl I had anxiety, fears, depressive-like feelings and rages. I was hospitalized for severe depression at age of seven, however at that time the biomedical model was not yet that established and I do not get any drugs. I recovered by myself after a year. However, first mentioned symptoms persisted. At the age of 15 I got really depressed again and my temper was getting worst my parents got really concerned because I told them I wanted to kill myself and sent me to a psychiatrist. By that time the psycho-pharmaceutical approach was fully engrained. I went with my mother to this psychiatrist and she spoke to him, but I did not say one word to him- nothing and I only saw him once yet I described my several medications! an antidepressants, antipsychotic and a anticonsulvant. How irresponsible is that ? I did not even asked me what was wrong, what I was feeling.

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