UK Doctors Have Doubled Antipsychotic Prescriptions To Children And Youth: Study

January 13, 2023 in News by RBN Staff

source:  zerohedge


FRIDAY, JAN 13, 2023 – 05:30 AM

Authored by Jessie Zhang via The Epoch Times,

Despite the lack of evidence of the safety of antipsychotics in children, who are smaller in size and still rapidly developing, the number of prescriptions to English youth has doubled between 2000 to 2019, a study suggests.

The researchers from the University of Manchester examined over seven million children and adolescents aged three to 18.

They discovered that youth prescriptions of antipsychotics – drugs used to treat major mental illnesses, such as autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD – increased from 0.06 percent to 0.11 in the past two decades.

While the percentage is small, co-author and senior research fellow at the University of Manchester Matthias Pierce said that the higher prevalence of these disorders, as well as a growing trend to prescribe antipsychotics by clinicians, is concerning.

“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 associated with long-term side effects, including sexual dysfunction, infertility, and weight gain leading to diabetes.

The team examined 7.2 million children and adolescents from general practices in England. (Dana.S/Shutterstock)

Most Prescribed Antipsychotic Drugs

For mental illnesses apart from depression and eating disorders, the researchers discovered that risperidone was the most prescribed drug, accounting for over 70 percent of prescriptions.

“We report 20 times more risperidone prescriptions than previously observed,” the authors wrote.

The most prescribed drug for depression was quetiapine, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and associated with the side effects of high blood pressure, vomiting, and fatigue.

The most prescribed medication for eating disorders was olanzapine, with the principal side effect being weight gain, with young males appearing to be at a heightened risk.

A similar study involving a 12-week examination of the use of antipsychotic drugs in children revealed that at the conclusion of the study, all children displayed behavioural change. However, all participants also showed significant adverse effects.

Before agreeing to start their child on antipsychotics to manage aggressive behaviour, parents should ask about alternative treatments, according to Mark Olfson, a research psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York.

He said these might include anger management, counselling for parents on how to address aggression, and other psychosocial options.

The study was published on Jan. 10 in the Lancet Psychiatry.