Antipsychotic Drugs For Tots?

Here’s a shocker: in the past decade the number of pre-school children taking antipsychotic drugs has doubled, according to research from Rutgers and Columbia Universities.

But why? Up until about 10 years ago, antipsychotics were used pretty much exclusively for schizophrenia. Not so anymore. Increasingly, these drugs are being used to treat aggression, autism, bipolar disorder attention deficit disorder, and Tourette syndrome, among other conditions.

But in pre-schoolers? This one has us shaking our heads because there have been no long-term studies to demonstrate whether these powerful drugs are either safe or effective in children, and yet they are being prescribed liberally.

We are also concerned because these drugs can cause serious weight gain in children and adolescents, which can result in diabetes according to Dr. Shannon Croft of the Emory University School of Medicine. They can also interfere with a child’s ability to process information, and cause a Parkinson’s-like tremor.

Clearly, this is a subject that begs for much more study and research. The bottom line here is to be very careful if your physician makes this recommendation to you. This is a highly controversial issue in the medical and mental health fields and not all doctors believe that antipsychotics are a good fit with children. To be on the safe side, get a second opinion and do your homework.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.