Filed Under:

By Sophie Faught, MFI Communications Coordinator • Antipsychotic prescriptions for kids on Medicaid in Kentucky jumped by 270% in the past decade.

A new study released by researcher Michael Childress (of the University of Kentucky) found that antipsychotic prescriptions have increased tremendously for poor and disabled children insured by Medicaid in the state of Kentucky.  This is especially true for minority children, who were three times more likely to be prescribed an antipsychotic than white children.

Interestingly, Childress also found that prescriptions varied dramatically by region — minority children in eastern areas of Kentucky were 26 more times likely to be taking antipsychotics than those in certain parts of western Kentucky.  This geographical variation in dosage was far more pronounced amongst minority children than white children. Since mental health diagnoses are theoretically supposed to be evenly distributed amongst the population, this finding seems to indicate that other factors, aside from “need,” are driving the prescription of these drugs (factors like drug company marketing practices).

The majority of prescriptions in Childress’ study were for uses not approved by the FDA. This finding is especially troublesome given the many scandalslawsuits, and billion dollar corporate fines surrounding off-label (illegal) marketing of antipsychotics to children.

You can read a press release about Childress’ findings here, and download a short “Issue Brief” summarizing his data here.

Risperdal lego

(Johnson & Johnson, the makers of RIsperdal — an antipsychotic — used these “Risperdal” branded legos to promote the powerful neuroleptic drug to children.)