The number of children and teens taking antipsychotic medications has skyrocketed in recent years, with psychiatrists prescribing the drugs in nearly one-in-three visits with youth. The drugs are not only being prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but also for the commonly diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many mental health experts say that the powerful medications come with serious potential side effects and that their effectiveness has not been proven in treating the disorders for which they're increasingly prescribed.
Antipsychotic medications are often used for unlabeled indications, such as treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).The results of a study of “atypical antipsychotic” drug use among youths with ADHD, comparing age groups, Medicaid eligibility, and presence in foster care are presented in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology website.
Mehmet Burcu and Julie Zito, University of Maryland, Aloysius Ibe, Morgan State University, and Daniel Safer, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, report that nearly one-third of the ADHD-diagnosed foster care youth ages 2-17 years of age included in the assessment received atypical antipsychotics during the study period.