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August 2004

Prescribing More Psychotropic Medications for Children: What Does the Increase Mean?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(8):829-830. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.8.829

The 1990s may become known as the decade of psychotropic medication use in children. This includes, to differing degrees, several classes of drugs: stimulants, antidepressants (especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]), antianxiety agents, and antipsychotics. Evidence of increasing use among children of various ages has been mounting for years. Previous studies have demonstrated higher rates of psychoactive prescription use in adolescents,1 preschoolers,2 and those in between.3 These medications have been prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, depression, and various other behavioral, mental, or learning disorders.

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