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Reports Claim Foster Children Taking Too Many Antipsychotic Drugs

Jaclyn Hughes

One can only imagine the mental state of a child that resides in a foster care environment year after year. Some certainly have the ability to block it out to some degree and simply accept their lives as they are, but thousands of these children are placed on prescription drugs to help counteract those emotions in an effort to help them maintain a peaceful frame of mind. The concern that health officials have is that some of the kids may not necessarily require the meds and are taking them just for being in the same housing situation as their foster peers.

CBS news reports that a recent inspection conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services revealed many concerns on this type of drug use within children that fall under the Medicaid bracket. It’s safe to assume that the vast majority of kids that are placed in foster care are also enrolled in the Medicaid program. The health department’s issue is that there are currently thousands of kids taking “antipsychotics” that haven’t ever really been studied on other children to review the effects or needs to administer them safely. Certainly, the meds have been under scrutiny and studied on animals, but not necessarily on other children.

A list of drugs that fall under this category that are relatively popular are:

  • Aripiprazole
  • Olanzapine
  • Paliperidone
  • Quetiapine
  • Fumarate
  • Risperidone

They are effectively utilized in patients that have autism, schizophrenia, and even in those that suffer from bipolar syndrome. The studies reported that nearly 67% of the cases reviewed found that the children being given the medications were not monitored carefully for the weeks and months that followed their initial prescription being issued. Some were being prescribed too many medications at the same time, or being administered the incorrect dosage.

Experts are providing these guidelines as support for any foster care workers, or parents of children that are already taking these medications-

  • Always check with your pharmacist on the proper dosage, if it needs to be adjusted the pharmacist can contact the doctor that prescribed it and make it right before giving it your child at the wrong dosage.
  • Get a second opinion if you think your child is on too many medications. Do your research, and be their biggest advocate.
  • Document any changes in the child, such as the before and after symptoms and behaviors that the child is portraying and discuss any progress or delays with their medical provider.

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