By Alan Schwarz
The New York Times
Andrew Rios’s seizures began when he was 5 months old and only got worse. At 18 months, when an epilepsy medication resulted in violent behavior, he was prescribed the antipsychotic Risperdal, a drug typically used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, and rarely used for children as young as 5 years.
When Andrew screamed in his sleep and seemed to interact with people and objects that were not there, his frightened mother researched Risperdal and discovered that the drug was not approved, and had never even been studied, in children anywhere near as young as Andrew.
“It was just ‘Take this, no big deal,’ like they were Tic Tacs,” said Genesis Rios, a mother of five in Rancho Dominguez Calif. “He was just a baby.”
Cases like that of Andrew Rios, in which children age 2 or younger are prescribed psychiatric medications to address alarmingly violent or withdrawn behavior, are rising rapidly, data shows.
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