Anti-Psychotics Over-Prescribed for Children with Behaviour Problems

This past fall a panel of experts in the U.S consulted with the Food and Drug Administration. The focus of their presentation was the over-prescribing of anti-psychotic medications to kids who do not have psychosis. It is important to note that the FDA has not approved anti-psychotic medications in children, that there have been no studies to support its effectiveness and that there are potentially serious short and long term consequences of taking these drug such as Risperidal (i.e., weight gain , permanent muscular tics). There are currently 389,000 kids being medicated with these powerful anti-psychotic medications - that are not psychotic. More than half of these kids are under 12 years of age. Only 15 years ago, there were approximately 70,000 kids on these meds. This is a five fold increase in a very short period of time. Often, family doctors prescribe these drugs to help reduce aggressive behaviour in children. Typically neither the physicians nor the parents are properly informed of the risks of taking these medications or the fact that they have not been approved of, or studied for use with children.

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