One in Five Children Treated with ADHD Stimulants Also Getting Antipsychotics

Rob Wipond
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About one in five children on Medicaid who are being given long-acting stimulants for ADHD are also being given antipsychotics, often for unapproved conditions, according to a study in Psychiatric Services.

The researchers examined Medicaid data from four states for children and adolescents between the ages of six and 17 years between 2003 and 2007.

Among 61,793 children who began treatment with long-acting stimulants (LAS) for ADHD, 11,866 or 19.2% were also being prescribed a second-generation antipsychotic concurrently for at least 14 days, and on average for 130 days.

“Comorbid psychiatric conditions, including disorders that are not approved indications for second-generation antipsychotic use, were associated with concurrent use of LAS and second-generation antipsychotics,” wrote the researchers.

Kamble, Pravin, Hua Chen, Michael L. Johnson, Vinod Bhatara, and Rajender R. Aparasu. “Concurrent Use of Stimulants and Second-Generation Antipsychotics Among Children With ADHD Enrolled in Medicaid.” Psychiatric Services 66, no. 4 (December 15, 2014): 404–10. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201300391. (Abstract)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. It’s that “Vyvance” , that crap put out as “new and improved” when the Adderal patent ran out.

    The only thing long acting or “extended” about Vyvance is the strung out anxiety can’t eat crash that goes on for hours after a peak that is too high because that “pro drug” delivery system is flawed.

    It’s the new Vyvance crash that’s causing these kids to ‘need’ antipsychotics.

    What parents need to do is adjust for adult body weight and take the child’s dose themselves because its the ONLY way to understand what these drugs do and how they “work”.

    Vyvance “new and improved” , wow the power of marketing.

    It’s really hard to believe that child drugging has not been put in the trash bin of history yet.

    Up and down on pills all day, day after day as kids. It’s just SO wrong.

    • Nah, Vyvance may be worse but this has been going on for years, ever since “juvenile bipolar” was invented, oh, oops, I mean DISCOVERED by the estimable Dr. Biedermann, who interestingly worked a lot with “ADHD” kids before he made his “discovery.” It happens with any amphetamine-type stimulant, though Vyvance may make it even more likely. It sounds nasty to me!

      —- Steve

  2. I am not in the USA and so do not know how Medicaid works. My impression is that it is some kind of government funding for healthcare and aimed at those who do not have private healthcare packages, which usually come with employment. If I am right then this could be interpreted as mass drugging of the poor, uppity trouble makers and therefore an extension of the original purpose of psychiatry, ie a way of locking up people who are disruptive and who stop factories working at full pelt but who do not fall foul of the criminal law.