Even Children Are At Risk!

Shockingly enough, even children make up the growing number of people at risk for polypharmacy.  “This is a critical issue—it’s not uncommon to find a child on an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer and a sleep agent all at the same time, but there’s no research to see how these drugs interact with each other” says Joseph Penn, MD (http://www.lifespan.org/news/2005/08/bh_polypharmacy_8_1_05.htm).  There has been a steady increase in the practice of prescribing multiple medications for children, with no studies showing a justification for it.

   Apparently it is common practice for doctors to use off-label prescriptions for children.  This in and of itself is potentially dangerous because the FDA hasn’t even approved these medications for children and then children are given more than one of them.  Child psychiatrist, Joseph Penn states “We just don’t have the efficacy or safety data to back up what is common clinical practice.”  (http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/08/03b.php)  The Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) reports that “America’s children are being put at risk of suicide and cardiac arrest and diabetes –all to increase profits”.

  This is terrifying to us, as parents and as humans.  It is the responsibility of us adults to protect our children from dangers.  We are in complete control over the medications given to our children, and it is our duty to be aware of the potential consequences, good and bad, that may come to our children as a result of the medications we give them.  Joseph Penn also advises parents not to “passively accept whatever doctors recommend for children with behavior or psychiatric problems.”

If our children are prescribed medications, we should ask:

  • Is the drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and for what conditions is it approved?
  • Is it approved for use by children?
  • What are the short- and long-term benefits and risks of the drug?
  • Are there any interactions this drug has with other medicines?
  • How long will my child need to be on the drug?
  • Are there any side effects I should be looking for to report back to the doctor?

     Check out some more shocking statistics on our “Alarming Stats” page.

    Sources: http://www.lifespan.org/news/2005/08/bh_polypharmacy_8_1_05.htm, http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-08-01-kids-drugs_x.htm, http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/08/03b.php



    2 Responses to “Even Children Are At Risk!”

    1. pharmgroup6 Says:

      I’ve always had a hard time questioning doctors but I’m getting better now that I have kids.

      My children are on asthma medications and I was really reluctant to start them. They have scary-sounding side effects but in the end, after researching them myself and talking to my doctor, I realized that uncontrolled asthma was worse.

      Make sure that you feel comfortable talking to your doctor about your medicines and any other aspect of your care. If your doctor won’t address your concerns or makes you feel stupid, don’t be afraid to find a new doctor!

    2. It’s interesting to find out how little research has been done on polypharmacy. When I hear commercials for certain drugs and they have their disclaimer at the end about not taking the drug with certain other meds or if you have a history of heart disease, you smoke, etc. i always believed proper research has been done.

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