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A+KIDS: Important Information for Children with ASD who Receive Behavior Medications

What is it?

The A+KIDS (Anti-psychotics-Keep It Documented for Safety) program is an effort to assure that children in the NC Medicaid program who receive anti-psychotic medications are being monitored for possible side effects.

  • These medicines are sometimes prescribed to help reduce severe agitation, self-injury, and/or physical aggression in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Examples of this type of medication: Risperdal (risperidone), Abilify (aripiprazole), Seroquel (quetiapine), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Geodon (ziprasidone), and Haldol (haloperidol)

The A+KIDS program has been successful with many prescribers (doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) who participate in this program.

Until now, if prescribers did not participate in the program, pharmacies were still allowed to provide the medication.

This changed on March 1. Pharmacies will be limited in the number of times they can provide the medication unless the prescriber is participating in the A+ KIDs program.

Why is this important?

  • Monitoring the side effects of these medications is important for patients, families, and the medical community.
  • Children with ASD are one of the largest groups of patients who receive this class of medication.
  • On March 1, 2012, pharmacists will only allow a limited number of “over-rides” per patient per year.

This means that if a prescriber does not participate in the program, there is a possibility for temporary difficulty in receiving anti-psychotic medication from the pharmacy.

Who does the effect?

  • Children and adolescents, aged 17 or younger, with North Carolina Medicaid who are prescribed anti-psychotic medication and the prescribers of this medication such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

What is required?

  • Doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants prescribing antipsychotics are required to register with A+KIDS and enter information regarding the reason for use and possible side effects through a secure website (or secure faxed form) every 6 months for each of their patients receiving this medication.

What type of information is being entered about me/my family member?

  • Reasons the medication is being prescribed
  • Medication name and dose
  • Information about height, weight, the possibility of sedation, or problematic muscle movements
  • The results of specific lab tests including blood sugar and cholesterol if these have been performed. Prescribers are not required to enter lab data if these tests have not been attained or are unable to be attained.

What can I do as a patient or parent/guardian?

  • All eligible doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants have already been educated about A+KIDS.
  • Have a conversation with your prescriber about the risk and benefits of this medication. To read more on this subject, consider these sources:
  1. A+KIDS Facts for Families
  2. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families on Psychiatric Medication, Questions to Ask
  • Remind your prescriber to register your family member and enter the appropriate information.
  • Remind your prescriber about the new limited over-rides policy starting March 1, 2012

For more information see: A+KIDS Facts for Families.

Thanks to Dr. Rob Christian of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities for sharing this information.

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