College of Pharmacy researchers secure grant to study antipsychotic medication use in children

A grant from the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration will allow researchers in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy to study the safety and effectiveness of long-term antipsychotic medication use in children.

Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy and the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, and Jenny Wei, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, are co-investigators on the $165,000 grant. The pair will examine psychotropic drug use trajectories in Florida preschoolers started on antipsychotic medications during the past 15 years. In addition, they will study the health effects of antipsychotic drug exposure during early childhood, including Type 2 diabetes and tardive dyskinesia.

“There is little information regarding long-term use and side-effects on the developing brain and the physical health of young children to guide the clinician when prescribing these medications,” Winterstein said. “Our research will help better understand the long-term use of antipsychotic medication in preschoolers.”

The $165,000 grant is funded by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration through a subcontract with the University of South Florida Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health.