Study: Off-label use of antipsychotics growing in teens/young adults
- A study published in JAMA Psychiatry reveals that 4.63 million antipsychotic prescriptions for written for teens and young adults in 2010.
- Overall, the use of antipsychotics in teens and young adults rose from 1.10% in 2006, to 1.19% in 2010. Use in young adults aged 19 to 24 increased from 0.69% to 0.84% during the same period.
- The research team, headed up by Dr. Mark Olfson and based at Columbia University, suggested that great caution with use of antipsychotics in young people is warranted in, especially younger children.
This study confirms what many people have already noticed based on trends within their own communities: Doctors are increasingly treating ADHD by prescribing antipsychotics to teens and also young adults. In fact, when researchers examined why an antipscyhotic was prescribed by a doctor, the prevailing diagnosis was ADHD for 53% of prescriptions for young children; 60% for older kids; and 35% for teens. Plus, only 29% to 39% of those prescribing identified themselves as child psychiatrists.
While there seems to be some evidence that antipsychotics positively address issues of agressiveness in patients with ADHD, side effects, such as weight gain and hypercholesterolemia, have to be taken into consideration. Chances are good that this article is being widely read by general physicians and psychiatrists, who often struggle with how to treat ADHD in young people.