The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of
Prozac for children with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder,
officially sanctioning a medical practice that has been in effect for
more than a decade.
Data suggest that the antidepressant may affect growth in children
and adolescents. One trial found that youths on Prozac grew an average of
one-half inch less and gained about two pounds less than members of a
control group who were not taking the drug. Little is known about the
effects of long-term use on the brain.
Doctors have selectively prescribed Prozac to children since it was
introduced in the U.S. in 1987. And the use of psychotropics among
children and adolescents more than doubled in the '90s--nearly equaling
usage in adults, according to a recent study published in the Archives of
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Antidepressants such as Prozac were
among the most commonly prescribed drugs.