Concomitant psychotropic medication for youths

Daniel J. Safer, Julie Magno Zito, Susan DosReis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Objective: This study reviewed the clinical research and practice literature relating to the prevalence and patterns of concomitant psychotropic medication given to youths with emotional and behavioral disorders. Method: A MEDLINE search from 1996 through spring 2002, including a review of references from relevant published articles and reports, was undertaken to identify available information on concomitant psychotropic medication for youths. Results: The data supporting concomitant psychotropic medication for youths are almost exclusively based on case reports and small-scale, nonblind assessments. In the mid-1990s, over 20% of outpatient youths treated in community mental health centers and over 40% of youths treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities were given concomitant psychotropic medication. The rate has since increased. Psychiatrists more than primary care physicians prescribe concomitant psychotropic medication, and they show great variability in their prescribing habits. Youths with aggressive behavior, male gender, severe emotional illness, and disabling social maladjustment are most likely to receive concomitant psychotropic medication. Conclusions: Substantive systematic evidence is needed to clarify this increasingly common, inadequately researched child psycnopharmacologic practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-449
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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