Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Pediatric psychotropic polypharmacy.

TitlePediatric psychotropic polypharmacy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsZonfrillo MR, Penn JV, Leonard HL
JournalPsychiatry (Edgmont)
Date Published2005 Aug

Study Objective: This study was a literature review designed to assess the rates of psychotropic "polypharmacy" in the pediatric population. Psychotropic polypharmacy was defined as the practice of prescribing two or more medications (e.g. concomitant psychotropic medications) for one or more diagnosed psychiatric conditions and/or behavioral symptoms.Methods: A literature review of relevant articles pertaining to polypharmacy was completed using the Pub Med database from 1994 through April 2004 for pediatric populations under 18 years old.Results: Studies were reviewed from various pediatric settings. While the extent of polypharmacy varied from the different populations, all the studies comparing these rates across time showed an increase in this practice. The use of stimulants with another psychotropic medication was the most frequent combination.Conclusions: There is limited information about the actual rates of psychotropic polypharmacy in the pediatric population. However, the data that are available demonstrate that this practice is on the rise. This is of specific concern due to the increase of adverse events with polypharmacy. The implications of polypharmacy, including efficacy and side effects, are generally unknown and may vary by specific combination. Therefore, these prescribing practices should be conducted with caution, and systematic research is needed.

Alternate JournalPsychiatry (Edgmont)
PubMed ID21152168