According to a study published in the Lancet Psychiatry, researchers from doctors’ offices have doubled antipsychotic prescriptions to children and youth in England.
The number of prescriptions for antipsychotics to English youth has increased by twofold between 2000 and 2019, according to a study, despite the absence of data about their safety in children who are smaller in size and still developing rapidly.
Researchers from the University of Manchester looked at more than seven million children and adolescents between the ages of three and 18.
Antipsychotic prescriptions for youth used to treat severe mental diseases such autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD—were found to have grown from 0.06 percent to 0.11 over the previous 20 years.
Although the proportion is minor, co-author Matthias Pierce, a senior research fellow at the University of Manchester, noted that the greater prevalence of these diseases and a rising propensity among clinicians to prescribe antipsychotics are both alarming.
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“However, [it] will help clinicians to evaluate the prescribing of antipsychotics to children more fully and will encourage them to consider better access to alternatives,” Pierce said.
Antipsychotics have been linked to long-term side effects such infertility, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain leading to diabetes.
Most Prescribed Antipsychotic Drugs
Risperidone was found to be the most commonly prescribed drug for mental conditions other than eating disorders and depression, with over 70% of prescriptions.
The authors stated, “We report 20 times more risperidone prescriptions than previously observed (pdf below).”
Quetiapine, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is connected to side effects like fatigue, vomiting, and elevated blood pressure, was the medication for depression that was most often recommended.
Olanzapine, the most commonly prescribed medicine for eating disorders, has a major adverse effect of weight gain, with young guys appearing to be particularly at risk.
Similar research that looked at antipsychotic drug use in kids for 12 weeks found that all the kids showed behavioural changes by the end of the study. All individuals, however, also manifested notable negative effects.
Mark Olfson, a research psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York, advises parents to explore other therapies before deciding to begin their child on antipsychotics to treat violent behaviour.
These, according to him, might include psychological interventions such as anger management classes for parents and advice on how to deal with violence.
Read the study given below: