Concomitant pharmacotherapy among youths treated in routine psychiatric practice

Farifteh Firoozmand Duffy, William E. Narrow, Donald S. Rae, Joyce C. West, Deborah A. Zarin, Maritza Rubio-Stipec, Harold Alan Pincus, Darrel A. Regier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess rates and correlates of concomitant phamracotherapy in children and adolescents treated by psychiatrists in a broad range of clinical settings. Methods: Cross-sectional data on 392 child and adolescent patients aged 2-17 years from the 1997 and 1999 American Psychiatric Practice Research Network Study of Psychiatric Patients and Treatments were used, and weighted estimates are provided. Results: Findings indicate that 84% of child and adolescent patients received one or more psychopharmacologic medications; 52% of patients treated with medications received concomitant pharmacotherapy (i.e., two or more medications). Patients who were treated with psychopharmacologic treatments received a median of 2 medications (range, 1-6). Highest rates of concomitant pharmacotherapy were among patients with bipolar disorder (87%). Correlates of concomitant pharmacotherapy included: (1) having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, (2) having co-occurring Axis I or II disorders or general medical conditions, and (3) currently receiving treatment in an inpatient setting. Conclusions: Over 40% of child and adolescent patients of psychiatrists were prescribed two or more psychopharmacologic medications. Patients with chronic and clinically complex conditions were more likely to receive concomitant pharmacouterapy. Most often, efficacy of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications has been examined as monotherapy, and cautions on drug interactions and off-label use derived from multiple sources accompany each product. With high rates of concomitant pharmacotherapy among children and adolescents in psychiatric care, additional research on efficacy and safety of this treatment strategy is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-25
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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