Medications Your Pediatrician May Not Prescribe For Your Child And Why

Posted on: 9 February 2019

Pediatricians tend to prescribe all kinds of medications to help kids and teens. Some of those medications may even be prescribed off-label for other conditions. However, there are several medications that your pediatrician may not prescribe for your child, and with very good reason. 

​Risperdal (Anti-Anxiety)

​Risperdal was prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. It was also prescribed off-label as a treatment for bipolar disorder. It was not until patients had been taking the drug for a while that a major side effect of the drug became apparent. Adolescent males began developing gynecomastia. They were growing breasts, and it was not just a little bit of tissue on the chest. Subsequently, most pediatricians that were prescribing this medication stopped prescribing it. If your child needs an anti-anxiety med for any reason, it is highly unlikely (especially if your child is male!) that your pediatrician will prescribe this drug. 

Ritalin (ADHD)

​This drug was long and hotly debated as a medication that can stunt your child's growth. There were some longitudinal studies established for the sole purpose of studying the effects of stimulants on height and growth in children in the U.S. that followed children taking this drug over the course of a decade. Fast-acting forms of this drug, taken three times a day, from preteen years on, seemed to have slowed a child's growth. However, when children take a break from this medication, as is common for them to do during the summer or when they are on extended breaks from school, they seem to catch up in growth. If they do not take breaks, the growth remains very slow. Pediatricians tend to shy away from prescribing the quick-release version in favor of the timed-release version. 

Adult Cough Medicines (Severe Cough and Cold)

​Adult cough medicines should never be taken by children. Your pediatrician will never tell you or advise you to give your children adult cough medicine because it contains a high concentration of alcohol in it. Children who take adult cough medicine run the risk of destroying brain cells and the developing brain from the alcohol content in many adult cough syrups. Additionally, it may be possible for children to become addicted to alcohol before they ever take their first drink when they have been repeatedly exposed to the alcohol in adult cough syrups. So, when your pediatrician recommends or prescribes a child's cough medicine, use only that cough medicine in order to protect your child's developing brain. 

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