Sunday, November 13, 2016

Canadian children now take far more mood-altering drugs, prescription count shows

Canadian doctors are increasingly medicating children with antidepressants and antipsychotics, suggests a new study experts worry is the latest sign of using drugs to achieve “behavioural control.”

Nationally, antipsychotic dispensing to Canadian children and youth increased 33 per cent over a recent four-year period, while the rate for antidepressants jumped 63 per cent, new research shows. Quebec had the highest pediatric antipsychotic dispensing rate in the country, with 253 prescriptions filled for every 1,000 youth under 18.

It’s not clear what’s driving the increases nationally. The researchers relied on prescription transactions from Canadian drug stores that don’t include reasons why the pills were prescribed.

“It’s not just a bad news story in the sense that maybe more (children) are getting drugs — there might actually be people getting better access and doctors catching (mental health problems) earlier,” said lead author Dr. Mina Tadrous, a research associate at the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network at St. Michael’s Hospital.

However, there are also concerns antidepressants and antipsychotics have become the default for desperate parents who can’t get access to non-drug treatments, so that “the easier thing to do is give medications,” Tadrous said. “Medications alone are not the only treatment.”  (more...)

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