children on antipsychotics

WHY ARE PRESCHOOLERS TAKING ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS?

A small number of American preschool children on Medicaid are using psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and medications for attention-deficit disorder, despite limited evidence they are safe or effective.

“Because we don’t have indications in our data, it is not entirely clear why these children are receiving psychotropic drugs,” says lead author Lauren Garfield, who was a postdoctoral research associate at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis when the study was conducted.

“It is possible that some of these children have brain injuries or insults, such as traumatic brain injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome or the like, for which treatment is being provided,” says coauthor Ramesh Raghavan, associate professor at the Brown School and associate professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine.

“But if these medications are being used solely for behavioral control, then it seems clear that we need to better assess these children, and see if they might be better served by the use of evidence-based behavioral interventions,” says coauthor Ramesh Raghavan, associate professor at the Brown School and associate professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine.

WORRYING FINDINGS

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