Doctors are prescribing a new class of antipsychotic drugs to treat mental illnesses in children. But there could be cause for concern—the drugs are only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Atypicals include Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, and Geodon, and are said to be prescribed to children only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Yet a study of FDA data found that from 2000 to 2004, 45 children died from a listed cause of death related to an atypical antipsychotic. In addition, there were 1,328 reports of serious side effects from the drugs. Six of the 45 children who died had complications associated with diabetes. Atypicals have labels warning that they can increase the risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
Other effects of the drug include:
All makers of the atypical drugs reiterate that their drugs are not approved for children, but are safe to treat adults.