Increase in Off-Label Antipsychotic Use Seen in Canadian Youth

Researchers sound an alarm on the “exponential rise” in antipsychotic prescriptions for children and adolescents and urge closer monitoring of prescribing practices.

The number of children and adolescents aged 18 and younger who were prescribed a second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) increased by 18 times from 1996 to 2010 in British Columbia, according to findings published in the June Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

….In 2010, the most common diagnoses linked to pediatric antipsychotic prescriptions were depressive disorders, hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood (including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]), and neurotic disorders (including anxiety, dissociative, phobic, and obsessive-compulsive disorders). Antipsychotics have not been approved by Health Canada for most of these indications in children, the authors stated.

….“The reality is that many medications we use are off label, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them,” Kraus said. The AMA supports clinical decisions to use medications off label to help patients, as long as the risks and benefits are carefully considered, and patients or their guardians understand that the medication is used off-label.”

by Jun Yan, Psychiatric News

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