Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

In the Tennessee Public Insurance Program (TennCare), antipsychotic use in children 2-6 years old nearly doubled between 1996 and 2001.

Investigators examined 5 years of pharmacy claims (1996-2001) for children 2 to 18 years old enrolled in TennCare (Tennessee’s program for Medicaid enrollees and uninsured individuals), which includes low-to-moderate income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. During the 6-year study period, 6,803 children were newly started on antipsychotics. Over the study duration, there was a 61% increase in antipsychotic use in pre-schoolers, a 93% increase in antipsychotic use in children 6 to 12 years and 116% increase in use in adolescents 13 to 18 years.

From the source:

“At present, no high-quality scientific evidence supports the use of atypical antipsychotics for these indications [e.g. ADHD, conduct disorders, affective disorders] in pediatric populations. However, substantial evidence documents the adverse effects of these drugs.”


Antipsychotic medication, Children’s mental health, Medicaid, Adverse effects of medication


Cooper WO, Hickson GB, Fuchs C, Arbogast PG, Ray WA. New users of antipsychotic medications among children enrolled in TennCare. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(8):753-759.