NASHVILLE, Aug 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The proportion of children and adolescents in Tennessee taking anti-psychotic medications nearly doubled between 1996 and 2001, researchers said.
Vanderbilt University researchers studied anti-psychotic drug use in children in Tennessee's managed care program for Medicaid enrollees and the uninsured. They found the rate of new users of anti-psychotics nearly doubled among residents under age 18 in 2001, to 45 per 10,000 from 23 per 10,000.
Researchers credited the jump to more prescription of newer anti-psychotics for behavior disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD.
Researchers said use of anti-psychotics in children for illnesses other than Tourette syndrome or psychosis is controversial. Although more doctors are prescribing medications they think have lower adverse effects, the drugs still pose health risks such as weight gain, diabetes and adverse cardiovascular effects.
The findings point to an urgent need to conducted credible clinical studies to determine whether the benefits of expanded anti-psychotics use outweigh the risks, researchers said.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.