ADHD

Updated 14 June 2017

ADHD kids are treated with unapproved antipsychotics

The use of antipsychotic drugs to treat ADHD has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration – this is known as an "atypical" use.

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The use of these drugs to treat ADHD has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and is known as an "atypical" use, the researchers explained.

But their study found that antipsychotics were used to treat nearly one-third of foster care youth aged 2 to 17 who had been diagnosed with ADHD. The most common types of antipsychotics used were risperidone, aripiprazole and quetiapine.

The study looked at administrative data on more than 260 000 youths aged 2 to 17, enrolled in one state's Medicaid program in 2006, to determine the average number of days of atypical antipsychotic use in kids.

Researchers also looked specifically at a subgroup of kids with ADHD who were not diagnosed with any other mental health conditions.

Unacceptable trend

The findings by researcher Julie Magno Zito, at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and colleagues were published online recently in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

"This study adds critical hard data to our understanding of a persistent and unacceptable trend in paediatric psychiatry," Dr Harold Koplewicz, journal editor-in-chief and president of the Child Mind Institute in New York City, said in a journal news release.

"Our poorest, most vulnerable children, lacking access to evidence-based care, are receiving potentially harmful treatment with little oversight.

The highlight of [the] paper for any reader should be the simple but necessary recommendations for antipsychotic prescribing and monitoring in these populations," he added.


Read more:

ADHD in adults?

ADHD drugs hallucinogenic?




 

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ADHD Expert

Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation (www.gb4adhd.co.za) She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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