Author(s): Dean AJ, McDermott BM, Marshall RT
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to identify rates and correlates of psychotropic drug utilization in children and adolescents in inpatient and outpatient settings. METHODS: A retrospective chart review examined 122 inpatient and 126 outpatient charts from a metropolitan child and youth mental health service in Brisbane, Australia. RESULTS: Inpatients received more psychotropic medication than outpatients (71\% vs. 25\%; p < 0.01). Patients receiving medication were older, had longer hospital admissions, and more complex presentations, including history of abuse or suicide attempts and more diagnoses (all p < 0.01). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most frequently used drug class (44\% inpatients; 14\% outpatients), primarily indicated for mood disorders (31\%). SSRIs and newer antidepressants (ADs) were used more frequently in patients with a high suicide risk (p < 0.01). Atypical antipsychotics (APs) were also used (inpatients 23\%; outpatients 3\%), primarily for behavioral disturbances. Half of those receiving medication (51\%) received polypharmacy (>1 concurrent drug), with up to four drugs used at one time. Rates of polypharmacy were highest among patients receiving antipsychotics. CONCLUSIONS: Use of psychotropic medication is frequent in this population. Future research should initially focus on inpatients and intensive treatment settings and examine both safety and efficacy of interventions for depression in young people, atypical antipsychotics for behavioral disturbances, and polypharmacy.
This article was published in J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol
and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health