Differences in Prescribing Patterns of Psychotropic Medication for Children and Adolescents between Rural and Urban Prescribers

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Year published: 
2009
Month published: 
October
Media type: 
PDF
Number of pages: 
15
File size: 
165 kb
WORKING PAPER

The purpose of this research is to examine possible differences in the prescription of psychotropic medications to youths in rural and urban areas. Multiple studies have indicated a dramatic increase in the number of youth being prescribed psychotropic medication over the past 15 to 20 years. For instance, data indicate that the overall annual rate of psychotropic medication use by children increased from 1.4 per 100 persons in 1987 to 3.9 in 1996, with significant increases found in the use rates of stimulants, antidepressants, other psychotropic medications, and polypharmacy of different classes of psychotropic medications. In a later study, rates of visits by youth resulting in a psychotropic prescription increased from 3.4 percent in 1994-1995 to 8.3 percent in 2000-2001, with annual growth rates rapidly accelerating after 1999. These trends were evident for males and females, and also significant across drug classes. Additionally, there appears to be an increase in the percent of visits by youth to outpatient clinics and emergency rooms that include prescriptions for psychotropic medications. Similar trends have been found in other countries.