Posted by

Double dose: more kids being given Ritalin and Prozac

Despite warnings about possible negative side effects, doctors are
prescribing Ritalin to more and more children. What's worst, they are also
giving many of these same kids prescriptions to Prozac as well.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan, the
1990s saw a dramatic rise in the number of children and adolescents
receiving Ritalin-type stimulant drugs and Prozac-type antidepressants. The
study also documents the rise of a newer phenomenon: kids who are prescribed
both kinds of drugs at the same time.

The trend toward giving two behavioral drugs to the same child raises
questions, the authors said, about how physicians diagnose and treat
children's mental disorders. Thirty percent of children in the study who
were on the newer type of antidepressants called selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, also took stimulants.

"New drugs nearly always experience a rise in prescriptions over the first
few years of their lifespan, but the consistent increase in SSRI use and in
dual prescriptions is especially surprising," stated U-M pediatrician and
lead author Jerry Rushton, M.D., MPH. "We need further information about
whether this is due to new unrecognized mental disorders, substitution for
other therapies, or overprescription."

SSRIs have only gained approval for select indications in children during
the last two to three years, and little research has been done on the safety
of medications in very young children and the safety of combining them with
stimulants. But some physicians seem to be prescribing them nonetheless.

Rushton presented data from the study at the annual meeting of the Pediatric
Academic Societies and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Though the data
are limited to a single state's Medicaid population, they provide a unique
preliminary indication of how quickly stimulant and antidepressant use rose
among children from 1990 to 1998, and how many children are receiving both
types of medication.

The study also reveals demographic trends among those who are being given
the medications. Prescription rates for the two different drugs in the
studied population differed widely: 1.7% of children aged 6 to 14 received
SSRIs in 1998, versus 10.7% for stimulants. The mean age of stimulant
recipients is holding steady at around 9 years, while the mean age of those
getting SSRIs has dropped from 15 years to around 13 years.

Three times as many boys as girls are on Ritalin and other stimulants,
according to the study, while the gender gap in SSRI prescriptions that once
saw twice as many girls on the drugs has closed.

Stimulants such as Ritalin and Dexedrine are most often used to treat
children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil are used in the treatment
of serious depression, school phobias and other serious anxiety disorders,
bedwetting, some bulimic-type eating disorders, and -- rarely -- for
attention-deficit hyperactive disorder.

Said Dr. Rushton, "One of the biggest questions this study raises is whether
the children who are prescribed both types of medication have both types of
disorders, or whether their physicians are recommending these medications
for other reasons."

Rushton pointed out another serious development: "The steep climb in numbers
of children receiving either or both of these drugs was accompanied by an
increase in the dose and duration of the stimulants and antidepressants that
were prescribed."

SOURCE: "Ritalin and Prozac: More kids using both drugs," Pediatric Academic
Societies, May 13, 2000.

return to index

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
All physicians go to medical school and
learn the difference between disease/abnormality and no disease/being
normal. All physicians, including all of organized psychiatry, pediatrics,
neurology and family practice know perfectly well that the "disorders" for
which these drugs are prescribed are not diseases; they know that parents
and patients are told and led to believe that they (ADHD, clinical
depression, all mental diagnoses.) are despite the fact that no
mental/psychiatric/psychological diagnosis/disorder is a disease with a
known, diagnosable, abnormality within the individual. This being the case,
the first drug, usually Ritalin or an amphetamine is an intoxication, their
first actual disease. In that ADHD is not a disease with a known abnormality
there is no rationale, no scientific basis, for giving that drug, only a
risk of physical damage, injury. Adding the 2nd drug without so much as a
single actual disease being targeted, being treated, does nothing but
compound the chances of causing injury to the individual. Appended is the
story of Macauley Showalter (see THE SHORT, DRUGGED, LIFE OF MACAULAY S.),
killed by his multiple psychiatric drugs. At autopsy none of the psychiatric
disorders with which he was labeled could be found because none are actual
diseases/abnormalities. The only abnormalities found were chemical
by-products of the several drugs he was on, all of them poisons, none of
them medical treatments targeting known abnormalities/diseases.]

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)