Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

Medicaid’s cost for ADHD drugs rose dramatically in the past decade, mostly driven by off-label use of antipsychotics for ADHD in youth.

This study examined ten-year (1996 and 2005) trends in medication use in 107,486 children (3 to 17 years old) diagnosed with ADHD in a Florida Medicaid. The percentage of children with ADHD who were treated with ADHD drugs increased from 60% to 63%, and the percentage taking antipsychotics more than doubled, from 8% to 18%.

From the source:

“In the past two decades, the psychopharmacological landscape for children has evolved. Because both neurological and metabolic side effects are more substantial in a pediatric population, expansion of the off-label use of antipsychotics among children with ADHD not only drives spending, but also raises concerns about possible overtreatment. The use of antipsychotics as a second-tier agent in treating ADHD has overtaken traditional agents such as antidepressants or alpha agonists, suggesting a need for research into the efficacy and side effects of second-generation antipsychotics among children with ADHD.”

Tags:

ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], Stimulant medication, Antipsychotic medication, Off-label use of medication, Medicaid, Children’s mental health.

Citation:

Fullerton CA, Epstein AM, Frank RG, Normand SL, Fu CX, McGuire TG. Medication use and spending trends among children with ADHD in Florida’s Medicaid program, 1996-2005. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63(2):115-121.