International Meeting for Autism Research (London, May 15-17, 2008): PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION USE BY CHILDREN WITH AUTISM IN A LARGE HMO IN CALIFORNIA


Thursday, May 15, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
M. P. Bernal , ASD Regional Programs, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, San Jose, CA
L. A. Croen , Kaiser Permanente, Division of Research, Disvision of Research, Oakland, CA
C. Yoshida , Kaiser Permanente-Division of Research, Division of REsearch, Oakland, CA
Background: There is a dearth of empirical information on how the use of psychotropic medications changes over time in community samples of children with ASD.
Objectives: To examine changes in the use of psychotropic medications from 2006 to 2007 in a large community sample of children with ASD.
Methods: Children between the ages of 2-18 with a diagnosis of ASD who were members of Kaiser Permanente (KP) in Northern California in 2006 (N=5,636) and 2007 (N=7,076) were compared in terms of psychotropic medication use dispensed at any KP pharmacy. Medication use by each cohort was examined using an electronic prescription system.
Results:   Approximately 36% of the children with ASD in the 2006 cohort were prescribed psychotropic medications. The most commonly prescribed medications were stimulants (22%), antidepressants (14%), and antipsychotics (9%).  Fourty six percent of patients receiving psychotropic medication were prescribed one single agent. These data will be compared with data from the 2007 cohort to inform about changes over time within a health care system.
Conclusions: A significant percentage of children with ASD receive prescriptions for psychotropic medications, with a surprisingly large proportion receiving stimulants and antidepressants. Changes in psychotropic medication use over a one-year period will be discussed in light of expansion of services for ASD in this health care system.
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