GENERATION OF GUINEA PIGS – 

Aug. 27, 2022 – A study published in 2020 in the journal Pediatrics found that 40.7 percent of people ages 2 to 24 who were prescribed a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were also prescribed at least one other medication for depression, anxiety, or another mood or behavioral disorder. The study found more than 50 different psychotropic medicines prescribed in such combinations, and a review by The New York Times found that roughly half of the drugs were not approved for use in adolescents, although doctors have discretion to prescribe as they see fit.

Express Scripts, a mail-order pharmacy, recently reported that prescriptions of antidepressants for teenagers rose 38 percent from 2015 to 2019, compared with 12 percent for adults. Prozac and Lexapro are the only medicines approved for teens with depression, according to the Food and Drug Administration, while antidepressants in general carry a “black box warning” about increased risk of suicide for adolescents. Public health officials first grew concerned about the problem of multiple medication use, or polypharmacy, a decade ago, when it emerged among young people in foster care and low-income settings. Legislative reforms were passed to curb the practice in those settings, but it has since widened to include affluent and middle-class families.

more@NYTimes

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