237220 A medicated generation: Overuse of psychotropic medications in children

Monday, October 31, 2011

Melody Knight, PhD, RN, CHES , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX
Larry Knight, PhD, RN , Department of History, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX
The United States has been using psychotropic drugs in increasing numbers for the control of children since the early 1990s. According to some studies, the United States leads the world in stimulant medication prescriptions to children. In addition to stimulants, children are being prescribed atypical antipsychotics, antidepressants and anti-epileptics. Anti-epileptic or anti-seizure drugs are now being used in children as “mood stabilizers” (Breggin, 2000; Oregon State University, 2008). Is this use of mind altering medication warranted or are we putting an entire generation at risk? This study looked at medication usage of boys, aged 7-17, attending a summer camp. Medications taken by the boys during camp included psychotropic medications, allergy medications, asthma medications, antiviral medications, acne medications, digestive aids and vitamins and supplements. The purpose of this study, specifically, was to look at the number of campers taking some form of psychotropic medication. Frequency distributions were conducted dividing boys taking medications into categories. These categories included those boys taking medications of any type and boys taking psychotropic medications. Frequency distributions were calculated and a Chi-Square analysis was used to determine significance. Of these 191 boys, 80, or 41.8 % were taking some type of medication. Of the 80 campers taking some form of medication, 33, or 41.2%, were taking one or more psychotropic medications. A statistical significance was found in the number of 12-13 year old boys taking psychotropic medications, p=.020. Potential harm versus benefits for use of these medications in children will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health

Learning Objectives:
The participant will be better able to evaluate the potential effects of psychotropic medication use in children.

Keywords: Drug Safety, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. in Health Education, I am a registered nurse and a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.