Friday Factoid: Use of Antipsychotics When Not Psychotic: A Look at the Risks

Often children and youths are given antipsychotic medication despite not having symptoms of psychosis. These reasons include depression, ADHD, and other types of conditions other than what these drugs were designed for. Tennessee Medicaid enrollees aged 5 to 24 from 1999 to 2014 were included in a study by Ray, Stein, and Murray (2019). Excluded diagnoses were somatic illness, schizophrenia or related psychoses, or Tourette’s syndrome or chronic tic disorder. Three dosage groups were observed higher than 50 mg, lower than 50 mg, or controlled medications including antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Those prescribed the higher dosages of antipsychotics had a 3.5 greater risk of death compared with the other types of medications and dosages. These results show a need for closer management of prescription of antipsychotics and monitoring if they are given.

Ray, W. A., Stein, C. M., Murray, K. T. (2019); Association of antipsychotic treatment with risk of unexpected death among children and youths. JAMA Psychiatry, 76 (2), 162-171.

Andrew Goebel, MS, LPA (Temp)
WKPIC Doctoral Intern 

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