Increasing awareness of risks associated with inappropriate use of antipsychotics in children

Recent reports estimate that 4.6 million American children are treated annually for serious mental or emotional disorders. The resulting psychiatric medications that are used to treat these children are often prescribed without the benefit of psychiatric assessment, and the increasing number of children taking multiple behavioral medications is causing deep concern for many medical professionals. Antipsychotic medications, in particular, are known to be associated with significant medical side-effects in children and adolescents.

To address this issue, CMT has partnered with the Missouri Department of Mental Health to create a special intervention for physicians who prescribe antipsychotic medications to children. The Antipsychotic Prevalence Report (APRx) is designed to increase awareness of the concerns associated with use of such medications in a young population, and to share relevant news from the scientific community as well as the popular press on associated health issues and strategies for reducing inappropriate use. The APRx report provides aggregated data for all prescribers of antipsychotic medications to children in Missouri, as well as numeric and percentile rankings for each prescriber, to show where he/she falls in the distribution. Providers are thus able to determine if their own particular prescribing patterns deviate significantly from the practices of other Missouri physicians who are treating children with psychiatric conditions.