U.K. kids' antipsychotic use doubled

The number of U.K. kids taking antipsychotics has doubled in recent years, expert say, as use of the meds has broadened to hyperactive and autistic children. The increase was most marked among 7- to 12-year-olds, where the rate almost tripled from two per 10,000 children to 6 per 10,000 between 1992 to 2005. This in spite of the fact that most of the drugs aren't approved for use in kids, according to a new study in The Lancet.

What's more, American kids take antipsychotics at six times the rate of U.K. kids--45 of 10,000 used them in 2001 compared with 23 per 10,000 in 1996, according to a 2004 study. One of the authors of that research said that U.K. docs tend to be more conservative in prescribing psychiatric meds.

Side effects reported in children include weight gain, heart trouble, and nervous-system problems, the authors of the Lancet study said. "This highlights the need for long-term safety investigations and ongoing clinical monitoring," they said, "particularly if the prescribing rate of these medicines continues to rise."

- read the Associated Press story
- see the article in The Telegraph

ALSO: AstraZeneca presented data on its antipsychotic Seroquel XR to the American Psychiatric Association, saying that the med outperformed placebo in treating major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. In February AstraZeneca asked the FDA for a depression indication for the med and plans to submit an anxiety application this quarter. Report

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