Typical Misreporting on Atypical Use in Kids

  • by: |
  • 05/05/2008
The AP's Lyndsey Tanner fans the flames of fear by misconstruing  already breathless data dredging operation by Fariz Rani and others in this mont's Pediatirics. about the "soaring" use of atypicals in the treatment of autism and ADHD in the UK:

"American children take anti-psychotic medicines at about six times the rate of children in the United Kingdom, according to a comparison based on a new U.K. study. Does it mean U.S. kids are being over-treated? Or that U.K. children are being under-treated? Experts say that's almost beside the point, because use is rising on both sides of the Atlantic. And with scant long-term safety data, it's likely the drugs are being over-prescribed for both U.S. and U.K. children, research suggests. "

Beside the point? I mean, it sort of matters if there is over or under treatment. But then again, Tanner has already concluded that the drugs are over-prescribed. But what does a six times the rate mean?

"In the U.K. study, anti-psychotics were prescribed for 595 children at a rate of less than four per 10,000 children in 1992. By 2005, 2,917 children were prescribed the drugs at a rate of seven per 10,000 — a near-doubling, said lead author Fariz Rani, a researcher at the University of London's pharmacy school."

Tanner seems to be talking just about kids diagnosed with ADHD and autism. And she conveniently ignores the number of kids who take the drugs for the same diseases in the US. She also ignores the fact that extensive study has gone into use of these drugs for treating of certain aspects of both disorders. In the case of anti-psychotics, risperadone has FDA approval for use in treating irritability in children with autism from ages 5-16 which most certainly explains why the study in Pediatrics found most of the increase in use overall associated with Risperdal scrips. But you don't see that information in the Tanner article...No. What you get is the implicit accusation that drug companies are promoting unsafe and off-label use of the product. Disgusting. Misleading. Damaging to parents and kids alike.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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