Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

Over two thirds of off-label antipsychotic prescriptions in children are for uses where there is only uncertain evidence of efficacy.

The authors used nationally representative data from 4,800 physicians in the IMS Health National Diagnostic and Therapeutic Index from 1995-2008. The number of treatment visits among children that included an antipsychotic prescription increased eight-fold during this period, with two-thirds of off-label use in 2008 supported by little clinical evidence.

From the source:

Atypical  antipsychotic use in youth < 18 years  by FDA indication 1995-1996 1997-1998 1999-2000 2001-2004 2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2008
Total Prescriptions 120,000 472,000 977,000 1,774,000 3,518,000 4,520,000 4,216,000
On-label use 12% 12% 21% 23% 24% 26% 24%
Off-label use, moderate to good evidence exists 33% 27% 24% 18% 12% 8% 9%
Off-label use, uncertain evidence 55% 61% 55% 58% 64% 66% 67%

Values and column percents exclude the approximate 1%-2% of subjects whose age were not specified;
Source: IMS National Disease and Therapeutic Index™, 1995-2008 and DrugDex™

Tags:

Antipsychotic medication, Off-label use of medication, Children’s mental health

Citation:

Alexander GC, Gallagher SA, Mascola A, Moloney RM, Stafford RS. Increasing off-label use of antipsychotic medications in theUnited States, 1995-2008Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2011; 20(2):177-184.