Troubling treatment

Children and teens across Canada are caught in a terrible bind between needing the stabilizing response antipsychotic drugs provide and suffering the devastating side effects they can exact. Atypical, or second-generation, antipsychotic drugs came on the market in the 1990s and were designed to treat schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.
But despite the fact almost no research has looked at the safety and efficacy of atypical antipsychotics in children and adolescents, and while none of them have been approved to treat anything other than schizophrenia in teens, the number of young people being given these medications has ramped up substantially.
“I think it’s very concerning,” said Dina Panagiotopoulos , assistant professor in the pediatrics department at UBC and one of the loudest voices calling attention to the serious side effects of second-generation antipsychotics in young people. One reason more young people are being placed on powerful antipsychotics is the perception they are safer than older drugs, and therefore can be used to control aggressive children, she said.

Globe and Mail, Mon Feb 6 2012, Page: L3, By: Carly Weeks