A new article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Advances finds that antipsychotic prescriptions for children and adolescents rose significantly between 2011 and 2017 in Australian primary care services.
The current research, headed by Julie Klau of the University of Adelaide, reveals that the majority of antipsychotic prescriptions written by general practitioners were for off-label complaints. This means these drugs were commonly prescribed to children with little to no evidence that they could treat their symptoms. Additionally, most of the service users prescribed antipsychotics were also prescribed other psychotropic drugs simultaneously.
The authors write:
“Prescribing antipsychotics for mental health diagnoses to children/ adolescents attending Australian general practices was more frequent in 2017 than in 2011 and most commonly associated with depression/anxiety diagnoses. In both years, most prescribing was off‐label. The majority of patients were co‐prescribed other classes of psychotropics along with antipsychotics.”