A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that the number of psychotropic prescription medications used in treating mental health disorders in very young children has stabilized over the last few years.
Researchers led by Dr Tanya Froehlich from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio used data from two national surveys involving over 43,000 children aged between 2 and 5-years-old in order to find out how many prescriptions of psychotropic medications were used in treating mental health disorders among the age group between 1994 and 2009.
They found that while the prescriptions of psychotropic medications spiked between 2002 and 2005, it had leveled off between 2006 and 2009.
"Our findings underscore the need to ensure doctors of very young children who are diagnosing ADHD, the most common diagnosis, and prescribing stimulants, the most common psychotropic medications, are using the most up-to-date and stringent diagnostic criteria and clinical practice guidelines. Given the continued use of psychotropic medications in very young children and concerns regarding their effects on the developing brain, future studies on the long-term effects of psychotropic medication use in this age group are essential", Dr Froehlich said.