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The Numbers Of US Children On Neuroleptic Drugs Rises

Rueters in a news release, Antipsychotic use growing in U.S. kids and teens, reports the use of neuroleptics on children and teenagers up from less than 10 % of the youths who visited a psychiatrist in the 1990s to fully 1/3 of the youths who visit a psychiatrist in the 2000s.

Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed during almost one in three of all visits kids and teens make to psychiatrists in the United States, according to a new study, up from about one in eleven during the 1990s.

This rise is attributed chiefly to the entirely fraudulent, or off label, practice of prescribing drugs for purposes for which they haven’t been approved by the FDA. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and its attendant disruptive behavior, are one of the labels that these drugs are mentioned as being falsely prescribed for.

[Columbia University Professor Mark] Olfson and his colleagues, who published their work Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that for kids and teens, roughly 90 percent of the antipsychotic prescriptions written during office visits between 2005 and 2009 were “off label,” which means the drugs are being prescribed for something other than for what they’re approved.

90 % is 10 % less than 100 %, and so that’s gotta be a whole lotta kids who are being prescribed pills for fraudulent reasons.

Kids taking atypical neuroleptics, off label or not, are at risk for a metabolic syndrome that involves massive weight gain and attendant physical ill health conditions.

Last year, a large study of children, from the University of Massachusetts, found that kids who took antipsychotic drugs were four times more likely to develop diabetes than their peers who were not taking the medications. (See Reuters Health story of November 22, 2011: http://reut.rs/MtH5dB.)

Overall this study found that neuroleptic drug use increased across the board but especially among children and adolescents.

The numbers of kids on these drugs increased from 0.24 of 100 between 1993 and 1998 to 1.83 of 100 between 2005 and 2009. The numbers of teens went from 0.78 in 100 in the 1990s to 3.76 in 100 in the 2000s.

There is more than a great danger, indeed you can be quite certain in many cases, that some of this excessive and fraudulent drugging is going to lead to neurological damage, and a lifetime on federal benefits in the mental health system, for some of the children and adolescents put on these pills.