Changing Trends in Pediatric Antipsychotic Use in Florida's Medicaid Program

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ObjectiveThis study describes the changing trends in antipsychotic use among youths aged 18 years and younger and in age subgroups (zero to five, six to 12, and 13 to 18 years) in the Florida Medicaid program.MethodsThe study used Florida Medicaid claims data associated with approximately 1.2 million children and adolescent enrollees per year to describe monthly antipsychotic use from July 2002 to December 2005. A preliminary examination of trends indicated that antipsychotic use might be different for the periods before May 2004 and after April 2004. For this reason, piecewise regression was used to compare the trends for these two periods.ResultsThis study found significant increases in the use of antipsychotic medications for all three age groups from July 2002 to April 2004. The greatest rate of growth was for the 13- to 18-year age group, and the least rate of growth was for the zero- to five-year age group. From May 2004 to December 2005 antipsychotic utilization trends were flat for youths age 18 years and younger and for the six- to 12-year and the 13- to 18-year age groups. For preschool-age children (the zero- to five-year age group), there was a slight but significant decline in antipsychotic use. Significant changes were also observed in the specific second-generation antipsychotic agents prescribed. Although risperidone remained the most frequently prescribed antipsychotic, its use declined significantly from May 2004 to December 2005. Olanzapine use also declined during this period. On the other hand, aripiprazole use increased significantly throughout the study period, with usage among the 13- to 18-year age group almost equaling that of risperidone by December 2005.ConclusionsThe lack of growth in antipsychotic prescribing after the spring of 2004 represents a significant departure from historical trends. Although some in-state policies may have affected these trends, it appears that the timing and extent of the changes occurred shortly after the Food and Drug Administration required warnings on second-generation antipsychotic medications related to weight gain, glucose levels, and diabetes. They appeared immediately after the black box warning for pediatric antidepressant medications, and they appeared shortly after the Joint American Diabetes and American Psychiatric Association Consensus Statement. These factors suggest the existence of a prescribing community that is responsive to evidence and to professional and regulatory actions based on it.

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