Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Mind

Why Are Children Given Antipsychotics?

Neuroskeptic iconNeuroskepticBy NeuroskepticMay 7, 2013 9:38 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Prescriptions of antipsychotic (aka neuroleptic) drugs in North American children and adolescents have been rising rapidly in recent years. But why? Gabrielle Carlson of Stony Brook Children's Hospital offers her thoughts in a brief paper: The Dramatic Rise in Neuroleptic Use In Children: Why Do We Do It and What Does It Buy Us?

child_abilify1.png

Carlson is a specialist in 'pediatric bipolar disorder', which is a controversial topic at best, but I think this is still a thought-provoking piece:

The 10-bed children’s psychiatric inpatient unit at Stony Brook University Hospital, which opened in late 1986, treats children between the ages of 5 and 12... The inpatient unit has experienced the same dramatic increase in use of neuroleptic medication as seen elsewhere, from 15.2% of patients receiving conventional antipsychotics in the 1988-1993 sample, to 68.5% use of atypical antipsychotics more recently (2002-2004, 2010-2011).

So the introduction of the newer, 'atypical' antipsychotics probably contributed to the rise, but there were other factors:

Simultaneously, however, the mean length of inpatient stay dropped from 10 weeks to 5 weeks. The rate of rehospitalization increased from 17% to 42%. Rates of children needing isolation have increased... Fewer children now return home to a biological parent.

It's just not like it used to be:

Residents used to have a rotation of 3 months, meaning that they got to know and treat their patients; their rotations are now 1 month. Primary nurses used to spend time with the children; now they are shackled to their computers doing electronic medical records. When children are admitted now, the first words out of the mouths of the managed care gatekeepers seems to be, "what drug are you going to start?" regardless of the six drugs the child was taking at admission...

She concludes that doctors turn to these drugs thanks to insufficient provision for other treatments:

Atypical antipsychotics clearly have important adverse effects. The question is whether society (and insurance companies) want to support the alternatives.

rb2_large_white.png

Carlson GA (2013). The dramatic rise in neuroleptic use in children: why do we do it and what does it buy us? Theories from inpatient data 1988-2010. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 23 (3), 144-7 PMID: 23607407

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In