May 5, 2008
CHICAGO — American children take anti-psychotic medicines at about six times the rate of children in the United Kingdom, according to a comparison based on a new U.K. study.
Does it mean U.S. kids are being over-treated? Or that U.K. children are being under-treated?
Experts say that’s almost beside the point, because use is rising on both sides of the Atlantic. And with scant long-term safety data, it’s likely the drugs are being over-prescribed for both U.S. and U.K. children, research suggests.
Among the most commonly used drugs were those to treat autism and hyperactivity.
In the U.K. study, anti-psychotics were prescribed for 595 children at a rate of less than four per 10,000 children in 1992.
By 2005, 2,917 children were prescribed the drugs at a rate of seven per 10,000 — a near-doubling, said lead author Fariz Rani, a researcher at the University of London’s pharmacy school.
The study is being released Monday in the May edition of the journal Pediatrics.
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