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"Is Prozac safe for little kids?"

ZocdocAnswersIs Prozac safe for little kids?


My daughter is 6 years old. She was recently diagnosed with autism. One of the problems she struggles with is anxiety. When we go to grocery stores, she will sometimes hide between shelves to stay away from strangers. More recently, we had an accident on the freeway where we crashed into the median strip at high speed. After that, she worries about death all the time. She has a hard time sleeping also. Her pediatrician suggested that we try Prozac to reduce her anxiety. Is Prozac safe for kids? As far as I know, there are no clinical trials done on kids, so how can we know it is safe? Will it affect her brain, which is developing much faster than the adult brain?


You have raised a lot of very good questions. You are correct that Prozac has not been studied sufficiently in kids to warrant solid widespread recommendations as to whether it should or should not be used. This does not necessarily mean that it is a bad idea. We use medications all the time in situations that have not been studied (it is impossible to study every situation). Prozac and other medications like it should be started with caution in these situations. While it is unlikely that it will have any long term effects on her brain, no one knows for sure. Primary care physicians such as your daughter's pediatrician do prescribe antidepressants a lot, and do have sufficient experience in most circumstances. However, I think you daughter is in need of the opinion of a specialist in this area. Thus I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a pediatric psychiatrist. He or she will be able to discuss in detail the potential benefits and potential risks there are with the use of Prozac in kids. Since there are no agreement between current clinical trials that have been done, this doctor will be giving an opinion based on experience. Thus it is important for you to find someone who has treated anxiety in autistic children before.

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