UK Researchers Express Concern Over The Growing Rate Of Antipsychotic Prescriptions Among Children And Adolescents

DimaBerlin - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

The rate of children and adolescents being prescribed antipsychotics in English general practice nearly doubled between 2000 and 2009, rising from 0.06% to 0.11%. This finding and more were revealed in a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester’s Center for Women’s Mental Health.

Antipsychotic drugs, which result in a tranquilizing effect, are commonly used to treat major mental illnesses– like schizophrenia– among adult patients.

And while the drugs can help patients manage symptoms of psychosis to feel more in control, they are also linked with significant adverse side effects– including infertility and weight gain that leads to diabetes.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the U.K. has also approved antipsychotic use among patients under the age of 18 who have psychosis or severely aggressive behavior as a result of conduct disorder.

Per the new study, though, the researchers have suggested that these drugs are being prescribed for an increasingly wide range of disorders, with the most common being Autism spectrum disorder.

The study analyzed 7.2 million children and adolescents primary care records who were registered at select English General Practices between 2000 and 2019. The study participants’ ages ranged from 3 to 18-years-old.

As compared to the population, the overall proportion of youth who were prescribed antipsychotics was small. However, the rise from 0.06% in 2000 to 0.11% in 2019 has alarmed the researchers.

They claim that this increase is a cause for concern because the drugs’ safety among children, who are still undergoing rapid developmental changes, has not been firmly established.

“This study demonstrates a concerning trend in antipsychotic prescribing in children and adolescents. We do not think the changes necessarily relate to changes in clinical need; rather, it may be more likely to reflect changes in prescribing practice by clinicians,” explained Dr. Mathias Pierce, a senior research fellow who co-led the study.

DimaBerlin – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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