Medicaid Home Concerns

Antipsychotic use occurs more and lasts longer in foster care children

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Across the nation, thoughts about the mental health of children in our foster care system yield worry. So much so that researchers decided to look into their antipsychotic usage to examine the validity of these concerns.

Available through the journal Pediatrics, a recent study analyzes the number of antipsychotic medications used within Medicaid programs.  Results demonstrate that children in foster care use more medications for a longer periods of time than any other program. 

"Talk with a health professional about the appropriate treatment of mentally-ill children.  "

Comparing multiple Medicaid programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and foster care, a multivariable analysis assessed associations between the program category and antipsychotic use. The analysis adjusted for demographics, psychiatric comorbidities, and other psychotropic use.

Results shown that average antipsychotic usage ranged from roughly 222 days in foster care to only 135 days in TANF. Moreover, nineteen percent of those in foster care used more than one antipsychotic, while figures in all other categories were less than fifteen percent.

Susan osReis, Ph.D., of John’s Hopkins Hospital and her colleagues further expressed that “conduct disorder and antidepressant or mood-stabilizer use was associated with a higher likelihood of concomitant antipsychotic use.”

Researchers believe that statewide policies on antipsychotic use and the foster care system should be addressed. The monitoring and oversight of these children continue to yield concern, perhaps more now than ever.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 5, 2011
Last Updated:
December 6, 2011