Antipsychotic Drug Prescriptions for Off-label Conditions Increase for Children and Youth

In an article published this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Mark Olfson and his colleagues reported that between 1993-1998 and 2005-2009, visits with a prescription of antipsychotic medications per 100 persons increased almost eightfold for children, almost five fold for adolescents, and almost doubled for adults. Only a small proportion of child and adolescent antipsychotic visits included an FDA clinical indication; many prescriptions were for off-label use.  An earlier commentary by the psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin on the Huffington Post links this increased use to unethical drug company marketing practices.