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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Psychoactive Medication Use Among Children In Foster Care

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
"Hope Lives Here"
Originally published April 30, 2012

A few months after the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the use of psychoactive drugs by children in foster care in five states, a national study from PolicyLab at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia describes prescription patterns over time in 48 states. The updated findings show the percentage of children in foster care taking antipsychotics - a class of psychoactive drugs associated with serious side effects for children - continued to climb in the last decade. At the same time, a slight decline was seen in the use of other psychoactive medications, including the percentage of children receiving 3 or more classes of these medications at once (polypharmacy).

Psychoactive drugs prescribed at higher rates for foster children

As public scrutiny has increased about the use of psychoactive medication by children over the past decade, children in foster care continue to be prescribed these drugs at exceptionally high rates compared with the general population of U.S. children. According to the PolicyLab study, 1 in 10 school-aged children (aged 6-11) and 1 in 6 adolescents (aged 12-18) in foster care were taking antipsychotics by 2007.

The entire story is here.

Contact: Dana Mortensen, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6092