At 2-years-old, your kid is probably still learning to navigate uncooked carrots and the only pill they’re popping is a Flintstone’s gummy. But, for some parents of kids 2 or younger, the diet may include some Prozac or other psychiatric drug. That’s according to data collected by The New York Times, which found that pediatricians are increasingly prescribing that stuff to deal with behavior deemed “disruptive” to kids’ well being.
According IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug sales, more than 20,000 antipsychotic drugs were prescribed to kids 2 or younger last year. If that seems high, it’s modest compared to Prozac, which was prescribed 83,000 times to the same demographic, all of which adds up to something like 10,000 toddlers currently pushing their Cozy Coupes under the influence. If it sounds maybe a little aggressive, it is — a 50 percent and 23 percent increase, respectively, from 2013). And if you’re wondering whether or not the doctors doing the prescribing have any idea what they’re doing the answer is … sort of?
The article cites issues like “thrashing temper tantrums,” intense mood swings, and extremely withdrawn behavior in children, which leads to parents pleading with health care providers to help. “There’s a sense of desperation with families of children who are suffering, and the tool that most providers have is the prescription pad,” Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at Tulane University School Of Medicine, told the Times.
The numbers might be a little less uncomfortable-sounding if behavior-altering drugs were approved by the FDA for kids this young, but they’re not. It’s legal for a pediatrician to prescribe them if they deem it to be in the best interest of the kid, but there’s no medical understanding of the long-term effects things like Prozac or Risperidol have on a brain that’s still mastering ABCs, let alone dosage milligrams.
That’s something to keep in your own, fully developed mind when discussing the terrible 2s with your doctor.