The Mark – November 14, 2011
The number of prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs for kids in Canada more than doubled between 2005 and 2010. A study in the journal Pediatrics & Child Health shows that the number of prescriptions jumped 114 per cent across those years, despite most antipsychotics not being cleared for use in Canada among people younger than 17. The drugs are used to offset the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism, mood disorders, and all manner of behavioural problems in kids as young as six. According to Postmedia‘s Sharon Kirkey and Pamela Fayerman:
Once reserved for schizophrenia and mania in adults, one antipsychotic alone, risperidone, was recommended by Canadian-office-based doctors for children 17 and younger a total of 340,670 times in 2010 – a near-doubling since 2006 – according to data provided to Postmedia News from prescription-drug tracking firm IMS Brogan.
Not too surprisingly, the level of prescriptions has some doctors wondering if these drugs are being overprescribed. Complicating matters are the side effects of the drugs, which can lead to rapid weight gain, pre-diabetes, obesity, tremors, and more. Likewise, long-term studies on the drugs’ effects on kids’ health aren’t readily available.