By Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian, Monday April 7 2008
New evidence has shown children's lives are being put at risk by a surge in the use of controversial tranquillising drugs which are being prescribed to control their behaviour, the Guardian has learned.
The anti-psychotic drugs are being given to youngsters under the age of six even though the drugs have no licence for use in children except in certain schizophrenia cases, the report says.
The number of children on the drugs has doubled since the early 1990s as the UK begins to follow a trend started in the US, but critics say they are a "chemical cosh" that could cause premature death.
The first comprehensive analysis, carried out by Ian Wong, professor of paediatric medicines research at the London School of Pharmacy, suggests the number of children on the drugs has surged sharply.
His analysis, to be published next month in the US journal Pediatrics, shows that between 1992 and 2005, 3,000 UK children were given anti-psychotics.
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