Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

Psychotropic drug use is much higher in American youth compared to other countries.

Researchers examined insurance claims data for privately insured youth 0–19 years old in the Netherlands, Germany and the United States. The yearly use of psychotropic medication in youth was significantly greater in the U.S. (6.7%) compared to the Netherlands (2.9%) and Germany (2.0%). Use of antidepressants and stimulants was 3 or more times greater in the U.S. than in the Netherlands and Germany. Furthermore, stimulants were used at rates 10–25 times higher in American children 0–4 years old compared to the two Western European countries.

From the source:

“Prominent differences in psychotropic medication prevalence patterns for youth exist between the U.S. and Western Europe and within Western Europe. Amphetamines are seldom prescribed in Western Europe. In fact, they were not allowed to be prescribed in France, Spain, and Italy at the time of this study. In the current study, U.S. concomitant use [two or more psychotropic drugs prescribed] was 2 or 3 times more common than in Dutch and German youth, respectively.”


Children’s mental health


Zito JM, Safer DJ, de Jong-van den Berg LT, et al. A three-country comparison of psychotropic medication prevalence in youthChild Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2008; 2(1):26