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 Insanity Continues: 2.5 Million Kids On Anti-Psych Drugs In U.S.

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Insanity Continues: 2.5 Million Kids On Anti-Psych Drugs In U.S. Vide
PostSubject: Insanity Continues: 2.5 Million Kids On Anti-Psych Drugs In U.S.   Insanity Continues: 2.5 Million Kids On Anti-Psych Drugs In U.S. Icon_minitimeTue Apr 08, 2008 7:06 am

Antipsychotic drugs for children have taken off in the US on the back of a willingness to diagnose those with behavioural problems as having manic depression. Even children barely out of babyhood are getting a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the modern term for the condition.

The chief symptoms are mood swings, which, however, are common in children of any age.

David Healy, an expert on bipolar disorder, said there were now 2.5 million American children on antipsychotics. However, the UK guidelines on the disorder, from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, urge caution.

One drug which prompted concern was Risperdal, originally to be sold for children with "irritability" or difficult behaviour in autism. It was reviewed by experts for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency because of "concern about the potential misuse of [it] as ... long-term chemical control". The drug's maker, Janssen-Cilag, though it won a licence for it, withdrew its application, citing differences with the authority.

Some observers say a licence with conditions attached might have curbed the use of such drugs, and that where there is no licensing, doctors just have to rely on their own judgment on treatments. Many consult the British National Formulary for Children. But, says Sarah Yates, former chair of a primary care trust in Cambridgeshire, the BNF fails to mention the MHRA's reservations about anti-psychotics.

Sami Timimi, a child psychiatrist, criticises the "social trend of using powerful, largely ineffective medicines to control the behaviour of [children] who have never had a say in what is imposed on them".

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