(HealthDay News) – For children aged 2–5 years, the likelihood of psychotropic medication use peaked in 2002–2005, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Pediatrics.

Vilawan Chirdkiatgumchai, MD, from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues examined recent trends in psychotropic use for 43,598 2- to 5-year-old children from the 1994–2009 National Ambulatory and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys.

The authors found that psychotropic prescription rates were 0.98%, 0.83%, 1.45%, and 1%, respectively, for 1994–1997, 1998–2001, 2002–2005, and 2006–2009. The odds of preschool psychotropic use were highest in 2002–2005, and then decreased and were comparable in 2006-2009 to 1994-1997 and 1998-2001. The groups most likely to receive psychotropic prescriptions were boys (adjusted odds ratio [OR] vs. girls, 1.64), white children (aOR vs. other race, 1.42), older children (aOR for 4–5 years vs. 2–3 years, 3.87), and those lacking private insurance (aOR vs. privately insured, 2.38).

“Psychotropic prescription was notable for peak usage in 2002–2005 and sociodemographic disparities in use,” the authors write. “Further study is needed to discern why psychotropic use in very young children stabilized in 2006–2009, as well as reasons for increased use in boys, white children, and those lacking private health insurance.”

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