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. 2018 Sep;26(1):5-10.
doi: 10.1007/s40199-018-0204-6. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Psychotropic Medication in Children and Adolescents in the United States in the Year 2004 vs 2014

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Free PMC article

Psychotropic Medication in Children and Adolescents in the United States in the Year 2004 vs 2014

Sandra Lopez-Leon et al. Daru. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: There is a global perception that psychotropic utilization in children and adolescents is increasing in the US.

Methods: We present prevalent estimates for all psychotropics prescribed in the US (using commercial claims from Medicare and Medicaid) to children and adolescents in 2004 (total population N = 6,808,453) and in 2014 (total population N = 11,082.260). Further we evaluated if there has been a statistically significant change in prevalence during this time period. Analyses were stratified for the 6 major drug classes, all individuals' psychotropics (87 drugs), age and sex.

Results: The prevalence of psychotropic drug prescription was 8.55% in 2004 and 9.00% in 2014 (age stratified in 2004 and 2014 toddlers: 3.08 and 2.63%, children: 8.74 and 8.73%, adolescents: 10.89% and 12.11). The prevalence for each drug class in 2004 and 2014 was: stimulants/other ADHD drugs 5.0 and 5.8%; antidepressants 2.8 and 2.7%; anxiolytic-hypnotic-sedative 2.2 and 2.3%; mood stabilizers 0.1 and 0.1%; antipsychotics 1.3 and 1.1%; and for drugs treating drug dependence 0.02 and 0.02%.

Conclusions: The perception that psychotropic utilization in children and adolescents is increasing in the US, derived from the 2 to 3 fold increase seen from the mid 80's to the mid 90's is not valid anymore. There has been a slowdown in the increase of prescribing psychotropics. In the last 10 years, in toddlers there was a decrease in the prescription; in children there was no change; and in adolescents there was a slight increase. The prescription of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers has decreased overall. Graphical abstract In the last 10 years there has been a slowdown in the increase of prescribing psychotropics. In toddlers there was a decrease in the prescription (3.08 and 2.63%); in children (8.74 and 8.73%) there was no change; and in adolescents there was a slight increase (10.89% and 12.11). The prescription of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers has decreased overall.

Keywords: Antidepressive agents; Antipsychotic agents; Hypnotics and sedatives; Psychotropic drugs; Tranquilizing agents.

Conflict of interest statement

Ethics approval and consent to participate

An ethics committee approved the data collected. We received unidentified data and all data is presented in aggregated form.

Consent for publication

All authors give consent for publication.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Figures

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract
In the last 10 years there has been a slowdown in the increase of prescribing psychotropics. In toddlers there was a decrease in the prescription (3.08 and 2.63%); in children (8.74 and 8.73%) there was no change; and in adolescents there was a slight increase (10.89% and 12.11). The prescription of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers has decreased overall.
Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Percentage of children and adolescents prescribed with a psychotropic
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Prevalence of psychotropic drug class by age
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Prevalence of Psychotropic drug class by sex. ADHD & S = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and stimulants, AHS = anxiolytics hypnotics or sedatives, AD = antidepressants, AP = antipsychotics, MS = mood stabilizers Drug Dependence less than 0.1 not included in figure

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