This Months Newsletter ::
Get Psychiatric Drugs Too Often
above headline is from the October 21, 2001 issue of the USA Today
newspaper. The opening sentence from the article makes the statement,
"Doctors are increasingly prescribing psychiatric drugs such
as Ritalin and Prozac to preschoolers, despite questions about safety
psychiatrist Glen Elliott of the University of California Medical
School in San Francisco, spoke at the American Academy of Pediatrics
meeting in San Francisco and said, "Every pressure I'm aware
of is pushing toward more use of these pills in young kids, and
the potential for problems is huge." He goes on to explain,
"HMOs are encouraging quick diagnoses, working parents often
can't be home to enforce structured behavior-improvement programs,
and everyone seems to want quick fixes."
concern about usage of these drugs has been growing following a
recent report that showed that Ritalin use more than tripled in
preschoolers between 1991 and 1995, and prescriptions for antidepressants
doubled in that age group during the same period. Dr. Marsha Rappley,
a pediatrician at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine
in East Lansing states that one of the concerns are side effects,
which can range from mild to significant. Problems that can occur
include headaches, stomach aches, sleep problems and loss of appetite.
Additionally there is very little research on safety and effectiveness
in kids under 4.
Elliott worries about the long-term dangers of prescribing drugs
such as Prozac to small children. "Antidepressants change how
brain chemicals work, and permanent changes might result from kids
taking such drugs since we know a lot of brain development is still
going on at this young age."
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