While we hear of the FDA is cracking down on artificial trans fats or using stormtrooper police tactics to persecute raw milk providers, we will never hear of them showing similar zeal for Big Pharma’s cash cow: drugged children.
The number of children taking powerful antipsychotic drugs has nearly tripled over the last 10 to 15 years, according to recent research. The increase comes not because of an epidemic of schizophrenia or other forms of serious mental illness in children, but because doctors are increasingly prescribing the drugs to treat behavior problems, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And a disproportionate number of those prescriptions are written for poor and minority children, some as young as age 2.
Doctors are prescribing antipsychotics even though there’s minimal evidence that the drugs help kids for approved uses, much less the unapproved ones, such as behavioral problems. And to make matters worse, the little research there is suggests the drugs can cause troubling side effects, including weight gain, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
Doctors can legally—and commonly do—write prescriptions for any medication they see fit to treat a condition.
This isn’t some alternative news site telling you these things. The above quotation comes from a Consumer Reports story. In fact, the situation is so bad, that the APA is fighting back:
But overuse of antipsychotic drugs has become worrisome enough that the American Psychiatric Association recently announced that doctors should not routinely prescribe the drugs as first-line treatment to children and adolescents for any reason other than psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or severe tic disorders. The association is so concerned that it chose to include this issue as part of Choosing Wisely, an initiative in which Consumer Reports has joined the ABIM Foundation and national medical societies to identify tests and treatments to question.
Will the APA’s resistance actually make a dent in the deluge of drugs being fed to children? I doubt it. There is a reason why drugs are being pushed onto kids. It pays well.
In fact, with Obamacare unleashing a torrent of new Medicaid enrollees, the situation is likely to get worse. As the Consumer Reports story notes,
an approach that combines nondrug measures such as parent training and cognitive behavior therapy with medication if necessary may work best. But many kids taking antipsychotic drugs have never seen a mental health professional. “Use is really high among kids in the Medicaid system where decent non-drug services may be difficult to find,” says Rubin, who also points out that even kids with private insurance often don’t have coverage for psychiatric care or counseling.
The only way the APA’s campaign will work is if parents and others join in and help push back on the drugging practices of doctors.