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Mark Olfson, MD, MPH

Mark Olfson, MD, MPH

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A pair of recent research articles has cast the public spotlight on treating children and adolescents with antipsychotic medications.1,2 In the first report, a large and broadly representative group of child and adolescent patients, all naive to antipsychotic medications, was followed for approximately 10 weeks after initiating treatment with olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, or aripiprazole. The average weight increase ranged from 18.7 pounds (olanzapine) to 9.7 pounds (aripiprazole).3 In the second report, Medicaid-insured youth were found to be approximately 4 times as likely as privately insured youth to fill prescriptions for antipsychotic medications. Only a minority of the privately-insured (32.6%) and Medicaid-insured (26.9%) youth had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or a pervasive developmental disorder.4

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