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Toddlers and Infants are being Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs

Update Date: Dec 10, 2015 10:04 PM EST

New research shows that young children and infants are being prescribed psychiatric drugs at an increasing rate despite the fact that there is next to no research on the both the short and long term effects of such drugs on developing brains.

Prescriptions for antipsychotics like risperidone and quetiapine, which go the brand names Risperdal and Seroquel, jumped 50 percent from 2013 to 2014, hitting 50,000, The New York Times reports. At the same time, prescription for antidepressants like fluoxetine, sold under the name Prozac, jumped 23 percent to 83,000.

The data showing these increases was compiled by a firm called IMS Health, which collects data on prescriptions, and did not say for what disorders the prescriptions were given.

Medical experts interviewed by the Times displayed dismay and bafflement when considering the data. They said that the brains of young children and babies changed so much and so quickly at that age that the drugs could have enormous impact on the future development of the brain.

It is next to impossible to study that impact, as the dangers associated with such a study create a chicken and egg situation. Studies of the impact of these drugs on young children have never been carried out because of the recognition of the dangerous combination that is those drugs and the rapid fire changes taking place in a young brain.

The Times says that younger and younger children are being prescribed these drugs, citing a Centers for Disease study from 2014 that found that approximately 10,000 children between the ages of 2 and 3 were given Adderall to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even though it flies in the face of the recommended practices of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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