It’s no secret that I have concerns about the use of atypical antipsychotics in children and young adults. My apprehension is based on my son’s ordeal with these medications, others’ experiences, and the well-documented potentially dangerous side-effects of these drugs.
I highly recommend reading this easy-to-understand article, even though it is primarily written for psychiatrists. Dr. Frances makes excellent points and cites a checklist meant to help doctors evaluate whether or not a child should be prescribed these drugs. He says:
And below is my favorite paragraph of the article – even more meaningful because it comes from such a well-respected doctor:
“Parents far too readily follow doctors’ advice about medication for their children. I recommend always becoming a fully informed consumer and getting second and third opinions before allowing your child to take any psychiatric medicine. This is an important decision that requires careful deliberation and full parental input. “
When talking about OCD and these drugs, studies have shown atypical antipsychotics to be no more beneficial than a placebo for those already taking an SSRI. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy continues to be the treatment that works best, and it can also be utilized in an age-appropriate manner for young children.
If you are considering using an atypical antipsychotic as part of your child’s treatment plan for OCD, please read Dr. Frances’ article. You might just change your mind.