Psychiatric drugs surge among kids | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

REAL SCIENCE. REAL NEWS.

Help us keep you informed.

Support Science News.


News

Psychiatric drugs surge among kids

By
2:06pm, January 27, 2003

During the early 1990s, the numbers of children and teenagers in the United States receiving prescriptions for psychiatric drugs rose markedly, a new study finds.

Julie M. Zito of the University of Maryland, Baltimore and her coworkers analyzed medical data on nearly 900,000 youngsters enrolled in Medicaid programs–in an unnamed mid-Atlantic or Midwestern state–or in a large health maintenance organization (HMO) in the Pacific Northwest. Psychiatric-drug use tripled at the HMO and in the Midwestern state, while it doubled in the mid-Atlantic state.

The overall proportion of kids and teens taking at least one psychiatric drug rose from 2.5 percent in 1987 to 6.2 percent in 1996, the scientists report in the January Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. This new rate of psychiatric medicine use nearly matches that of adults.

Ritalin and other stimulants for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder were the most commonly prescr

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content