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Psychiatric Drugs and Poor Kids

A troubling article from the Journal of the American Medical Association reports the finding that poor children are significantly more likely to be prescribed tranquilizing, physically dangerous antipsychotics—even when there are no symptoms of psychotic behavior.

From the Huffington Post:

Children covered by Medicaid are far more likely to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs than children covered by private insurance, and Medicaid-covered kids have a higher likelihood of being prescribed antipsychotics even if they have no psychotic symptoms. This is reported in the May19, 2010 Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) article, “Studies Shed Light on Risks and Trends in Pediatric Antipsychotic Prescribing.”

Researchers at Rutgers University and Columbia University found that children and adolescents covered by Medicaid were four times as likely as those with private insurance to receive an antipsychotic in 2004. Among those aged six to 17 years who were covered by Medicaid, 4.2 percent were prescribed at least one antipsychotic drug. In contrast, among those in this same age group who had private insurance, less than 1 percent were prescribed an antipsychotic. Nearly half of these Medicaid-covered pediatric patients receiving antipsychotic drugs had nonpsychotic diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or some other disruptive behavior disorder. In contrast, of the privately insured pediatric patients receiving antipsychotics, about one fourth were diagnosed with ADHD or some other disruptive behavior disorder.

Read the whole article here.

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