Tags: foster | kids | meds

More Kids in Foster Care Taking Meds

Monday, 07 May 2012 11:46 AM

The number of children in foster care taking antipsychotic drugs – linked to serious side effects in kids – has continued to climb over the last decade, according to new research by Pennsylvania psychologists.
The 48-state study, by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers, said the increase occurred even though the use of other psychoactive medications declined over the same period, including the percentage of children receiving three or more of these medications at once.
"While it is encouraging to see fewer kids being prescribed multiple classes of drugs, and -- to some degree -- a slowing rate of growth in the use of antipsychotics by 2007, these medications are still being prescribed much too frequently to children in the foster care system," said study author Dr. David Rubin.
Health experts have expressed growing concern about the use of psychoactive medication by children. But the new study shows children in foster care continue to be prescribed these drugs at exceptionally high rates compared with the general population of U.S. children.
According to the study, published online in the journal Children and Youth Services Review, about 1 in 10 children (aged 6-11) and 1 in 6 adolescents (aged 12-18) in foster care were taking antipsychotics by 2007.
The research team, which examined the records of 686,000 foster-care children from 2002-2007, found the overall use of psychoactive drugs increased from 2002 to 2004, and then began to decline from 2005 to 2007. Prescriptions for antipsychotics, on the other hand, increased each year from 2002 to 2007.
Previous research has found serious side effects of these medications in children.
"We're not saying these medications should never be used for children, but the high rate at which they're used by children in foster care indicates that other interventions and supports, such as trauma-based counseling, may not be in place for them,” said Rubin. “In other words, health care providers may not have other, non-medication, tools to offer families dealing with mental health concerns."

© HealthDay

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The number of foster children on antipsychotic drugs has soared in the last decade.
Monday, 07 May 2012 11:46 AM
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