OBJECTIVE. The aim of the study was to determine the changes in consumption of psychotropic drugs by children aged less than 18 years during the years 1995 to 2001 in the Netherlands. METHODS. The year prevalence of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines,antidepressants and psychostimulants for boys and girls under 18 years was determined using electronic pharmacy dispensing records obtained from the PHARMO database. RESULTS. The overall prevalence of psychotropic drugs increased from 11.1 per 1000 in 1995 to 22.9 per 1000 in 2001. This increase could almost completely be attributed to the increase in the use of psychostimulants, i.e. methylphenidate, which increased from 1.7 per 1000 children in 1995 to 10.0 per 1000 in 2001. For the other psychotropicdrugs, no or only a small increase was seen. For both boys and girls, the use of psychostimulants was highest in the age group of 5-14 years. CONCLUSION. During the years 1995-2001, the consumption of psychotropic drugs by children in the Netherlands has more than doubled. This increase could largely be attributed to an increased use of the psychostimulant methylphenidate by boys of the age 5-14 years.