The New York Times published an article yesterday about the FDA’s recent criticism of the use of antipsychotic drugs in children. (For example: Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Geodon.) Prescriptions for the drugs (for kids) are increasing, and despite their designation as anti-psychotic meds, they are also being prescribed for non-psychotic problems like ADHD! The side effects are serious and numerous–including fatalities (Risperdal alone has resulted in 31 child deaths since its introduction.) John Grohol at psychcenter.com said this about these “off-label” prescriptions:
The data don’t support such prescriptions, and the long-term data is
virtually non-existent. Docs (and parents pushing the docs) should stop
reaching for every possible new drug to help children when, especially
for a disorder like ADHD, there are powerful, fast non-drug treatments
available (such as psychotherapy).
I’m glad to see an increase in scrutiny in the use of these medications. Behavioral, psychological, attentional problems–they aren’t just a chemical problem–and the further we can move away from the mindset of “pill=solution,” the better.