Children with autism often take multiple drugs, despite limited evidence about the drugs’ long-term safety…
The objectives of this study were to examine rates and predictors of psychotropic use and multiclass polypharmacy among commercially insured children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
This retrospective observational study used administrative medical and pharmacy claims data linked with health plan enrollment and sociodemographic information from 2001 to 2009. Children with ASD were identified by using a validated ASD case algorithm. Psychotropic polypharmacy was defined as concurrent medication fills across ≥ 2 classes for at least 30 days. Multinomial logistic regression was used to model 5 categories of psychotropic use and multiclass polypharmacy.
Among 33,565 children with ASD, 64% had a filled prescription for at least 1 psychotropic medication, 35% had evidence of psychotropic polypharmacy (≥ 2 classes), and 15% used medications from ≥ 3 classes concurrently. Among children with polypharmacy, the median length of polypharmacy was 346 days. Older children, those who had a psychiatrist visit, and those with evidence of co-occurring conditions (seizures, attention-deficit disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression) had higher odds of psychotropic use and/or polypharmacy.
Despite minimal evidence of the effectiveness or appropriateness of multidrug treatment of ASD, psychotropic medications are commonly used, singly and in combination, for ASD and its co-occurring conditions. Our results indicate the need to develop standards of care around the prescription of psychotropic medications to children with ASD.
administrative claims, autism spectrum disorder, commercially insured, psychotropic polypharmacy
Read Many children with autism take multiple drugs
by Laura Geggel, 3 Dec 2013
Sources: NCBI, PMID: 24144704 PMCID: PMC3813388 2014/11/1
Our posts tagged ASD – Anti-Depressants – Autism – Drugs – SSRIs
4 thoughts on “Psychotropic Medication Use and Polypharmacy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders”
As a mom of an adult child was ASD, I’ve been on the drug route. They were given as a last resort when Therpy, behavior modification etc did not work. He was interrupting his class and interfering with his learning as well as others. I forget what we put him on, but I have to say, it helped a great deal. It calmed his mind and behavior just enough so he could learn and not disrupt the entire class. That said, at so e point when he was in high school he decided he didn’t want to take any medication for anything, and stopped taking everything. I feel he could use something for anixity but he disagrees and at this point, I can’t force the issue. He also stopped taking his meds for Crohn’s. Well this December he started to have a flair up, he went back on his meds. Now if I can get him some anixity meds, I’d feel better!