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Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children

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  • Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children

    New Data: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children

    FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., May 2, 2006 -- Children are the fastest growing category of users of antipsychotic drugs, according to an analysis by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) , a leading pharmacy benefit manager. While still a relatively low patient population, the number of children ages 19 and younger using antipsychotic medicines rose 73 percent from 2001 to 2005, far outpacing the 37 percent increase among 20- to 44-year- olds.

    While the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in children is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medco's analysis of over 2 million insured Americans found that the number of children taking these medications has risen continuously over the past 4 years. This differs from trends seen in utilization of other behavioral medications including ADHD medications -- where use among children remained flat from 2004 to 2005 and antidepressants -- which saw a significant drop in use among children in that one-year period.

    Children are receiving the latest generation of antipsychotics - known as atypical antipsychotics, including risperidone, olanzapine, clozapine, ziprasidone and quetiapine - at a much higher rate than adults. Of the patients prescribed antipsychotics, children received the newer atypical drugs 97 percent of the time rather than the older treatments. Adults received the newer antipsychotics 88 percent of the time. These drugs have been used as treatments for bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, ADHD, depression, Tourette's syndrome and other conditions.

    "Children are receiving antipsychotics with greater frequency and that may be because they are viewed as less dangerous than the older medications and can be helpful for conditions that were previously treated with other medications," said Medco's chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Epstein. "However, these drugs are not without their risks. There is evidence that the risk of diabetes and metabolic disorders from using atypical antipsychotics could be much more severe for pediatric patients than adults, and there is a need for more studies to understand the long-term effects of these drugs on children."

    Further findings from the analysis show that the growth in use among girls has been far greater than in boys. The number of girls under 20 on antipsychotics grew 103 percent from 2001 to 2005, as compared to boys whose use increased by 61 percent. During this same time period, there was a 15 percent increase in women 20 and over taking these medications, and a 9 percent hike for men of this age group.

    While growth in use has been dramatic among children, adults still take these medications at a 69 percent higher rate than children. In 2005, nearly 7 children (0-19) out of one thousand were taking an antipsychotic, compared with 11 per 1000 adults. Among senior citizens 65 and older, the prevalence of antipsychotic use is three times that of children, at 21 per 1000.

    Addressing pediatric antipsychotic use

    There are a number of plan management programs that Medco offers its clients looking to address the cost and safety of these drugs and prevent unnecessary use of antipsychotics. Per member antipsychotic drug costs for children 19 and under have increased 196 percent, or nearly triple 2001's total. Much of this can be attributed to the increased use of atypical drugs, which are not yet available in generic form, as well as increased prevalence. Prior authorization and step therapy programs can help health plan sponsors control overall drug spending. Medco's drug utilization review programs and its RationalMed(R) Patient Safety System also monitor poly pharmacy, dosing and drug interaction issues for these medications, especially in patients with cardiac, metabolic and neurological conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and seizures.

    "Doctors need to be judicious when prescribing antipsychotic drugs to children," Epstein said. "The use of these drugs can have the pediatric patient trading a behavioral condition for a lifelong metabolic condition that can lead to significant health complications."

    TouretteLinks Forum

  • #2

    I am a 56 year old woman who has had Tardive Dyskinesia and Dystonia for 6 months. It was caused by the use of anti-psychotic medicines that I was taking for sleep and bi-polar disorder. I can't express how horrible it is to have Td. I could have it for the rest of my life, which I can't even bear to think of. The doctors will tell you that these newer anti-psychotics are much safer than the older ones. This true, but I still got it. My son has Tourettes and my neurologist said that I may have been more susceptible to TD because of the neurological history in my family. But no one can tell. I would like to warn all people on this forum to never ever take an anti-psychotic for any reason except severe psychosis. Believe me, it is not worth it. If I could take back my life from before TD, I would do anything even if it meant insomnia, depression, or anxiety. There are remedies for those problems that have solutions that don't involve dangerous drugs. My doctor had me on anti-psychotics for 4 years and it was totally uncalled for. He never told me that the longer you are on these meds the more likely it is that you will develop TD. He also didn't tell me that it begins in my mouth. If I had know that I would have immediately stopped the drug and it wouldn't have gotten as bad as it is. I thought I had just developed some weird tic and didn't mention it to him. So please, please stay away for anti-psychotics! Don't end up like me!!!


    • #3
      Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children


      I am sorry to hear about the emergence of tardive dyskinesia resulting from the treatment you underwent.

      The side effect you are describing, Tardive Dyskinesia is explained here.

      While it is true that neuroleptic medications have the potential for tardive dyskinesia, recent changes in medication treatment strategies are using much lower doses of these medications for a variety of disorders with success.

      Treatment decisions are always made on a benefits vs risk evaluation, and though regrettably you experienced one of the more damaging side effects, many people are successfully treated and avoid td.

      Are you being followed by a different physician now?
      TouretteLinks Forum


      • #4
        Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children

        Hi Libby,

        Welcome to the TSFC forum, we are happy that you have joined us!

        Dystonia has a website also I typed in Tardive Dyskinesia in the search function and Here is the result.

        I could have it for the rest of my life, which I can't even bear to think of.
        Don't think about the length of time instead put your focus on returning to a high level of wellness.

        Are you taking other medications that would minimize the risk for TD?

        How has your son been coping with his TS?

        We are here to listen to you and support your family. Let us know how we can help.


        • #5
          Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children

          so does that mean that everyone whos taken a antiphychotic is at risk?

          ive been on orap for like 12 years thats a anitphyco right?
          so does that mean im at risk?

          what are the exzact symptoms?


          • #6
            Study: Antipsychotic Drug Use Growing Fastest Among Children


            Have a look at this site for a definition and incidence of tardive dyskenisia.

            With this information in hand, discuss the potential for the side effect with your doctor, as you doctor is familiar with your medical history.
            TouretteLinks Forum