Psychotropic prescription drugs in young kids peaked in mid-2000s

Sept. 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM
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CINCINNATI, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The use of psychotropic prescription drugs to treat mental disorders such as anxiety in very young U.S. children leveled off by 2009, researchers say.

Dr. Vilawan Chirdkiatgumchai of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University in Bangkok, analyzed data for nearly 600 children ages 2-5 from the 1994-2009 National Ambulatory and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys.

Psychotropic prescription peak usage -- for drugs such as stimulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics or antianxiety drugs -- occurred in 2002-05 but appeared to drop more than 40 percent by 2006-09.

The study did not reveal reasons for the drop in the prescribing of these types of medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, mood disorders and other mental health issues, but the warnings added to the labels of some of the medications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might have contributed to increased awareness of the side effects of the medications, the researchers said.

However, the researchers added further study was needed to determine why psychotropic use in very young children stabilized in 2006-09, as well as reasons for increased use in boys, white children and those lacking private health insurance.

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