American children are three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications for conditions such as ADHD and bipolar disease than European children are, a new study finds.
Differences in regulatory practices and cultural beliefs about the benefit of medication for emotional and behavioral problems may explain this dramatic difference, the U.S. researchers added.
"There is significantly greater use of atypical antipsychotics and SSRI-type antidepressants for child mental health treatment in U.S. than in Western Europe," said lead researcher Julie Zito, from the pharmaceutical health services research department in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland. "Since most of the use is 'off-label' -- without adequate evidence of benefits and risks, close monitoring should be considered when these medications are used."
The report was published in the Sept. 24 online edition of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.
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