More Qld kids prescribed anti-psychotic drugs

QUEENSLAND is doling out more anti-psychotic drugs to children per capita than any other state in the country.

New data reveals more antipsychotic medicines are prescribed per 100,000 people aged 17 or under than in the more populous states of NSW and Victoria.

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) figures show that in 2013-14, Queensland children received an average of 2544 prescriptions for anti-psychotic medicines, compared with the national benchmark of 2070.

NSW dispensed an average of 2448 antipsychotic prescriptions per 100,000, followed by South Australia, 1916, and Victoria, 1774.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists spokesman Nick Kowalenko said that better state-based data for incidences of mental illness was needed in order to determine if rates were higher in Queensland, or whether there was overprescribing.

"If you go to all psychotropic drug prescribing for children and young people under the age of 17, something in the area of 90 to 95 per cent is done by GPs," he said.

"And there is a concern that some of the other kind of treatments that may be effective such as psychosocial treatments and other ones that might be available, are not always being fully utilised."

The ACSQHC report said that antipsychotic medicines were mostly used to treat disorders such as schizophrenia but were also used to treat a range of behavioural conditions including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and conduct disorder.

Mental health commissioner Lesley van Schoubroeck said while antipsychotic medications could manage symptoms effectively, treatments were broadening.

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