Why aren't antipsychotic medications extensively tested for children?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The use of antipsychotic medications in children hasn't been studied extensively because many researchers view children as a vulnerable population. Researchers are concerned about ethical ways to study medications in children, and clinical trials for young people have been in short supply. Children have been prescribed medications at increasing rates over the years, escalating the need for more studies. In order to ensure drug safety for children, the Food and Drug Administration, with Congress's approval, began encouraging drug companies to study medications' effects on children. Since then, the number of drug studies for children has increased. However, more research is still needed on antipsychotic medication use in children. So far, clinical trials have found significant side effects of antipsychotic medications, including weight gain and high cholesterol, in children. Due to these side effects, better medicines and more research are still needed for young people with schizophrenia.

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