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Recent international trends in psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and adolescents


Steinhausen, Hans-Christoph (2015). Recent international trends in psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and adolescents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 24(6):635-640.

Abstract

Prescriptions of psychotropic medications have become an important intervention for many children and adolescents with mental disorders, and the rise of these prescriptions is debated intensively both among experts and the public. This review reports some recent international findings on point prevalence rates, cross-country comparisons, and time trends in psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and adolescents. Besides the total prescription rates, figures for antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, and anxiolytics prescriptions are provided. The overall prescription rates of psychotropics in general and the major medication subgroups prescribed to children and adolescents vary substantially between countries with the US consumption being markedly higher than the use in European countries. However, even among the latter there are marked variations in findings. Studies reporting on time trends clearly indicate that there was a marked increase in the use of psychotropics for children and adolescents in the recent past. However, only a single study adjusted prevalence rates for the increasing number of children and adolescents assessed and treated in institutions providing mental health care. Considering the increasing numbers of children and adolescents seen in psychiatric services, the increase of psychotropic medications is less strong though still pronounced enough to stimulate further reflections on the use of these interventions.

Prescriptions of psychotropic medications have become an important intervention for many children and adolescents with mental disorders, and the rise of these prescriptions is debated intensively both among experts and the public. This review reports some recent international findings on point prevalence rates, cross-country comparisons, and time trends in psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and adolescents. Besides the total prescription rates, figures for antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, and anxiolytics prescriptions are provided. The overall prescription rates of psychotropics in general and the major medication subgroups prescribed to children and adolescents vary substantially between countries with the US consumption being markedly higher than the use in European countries. However, even among the latter there are marked variations in findings. Studies reporting on time trends clearly indicate that there was a marked increase in the use of psychotropics for children and adolescents in the recent past. However, only a single study adjusted prevalence rates for the increasing number of children and adolescents assessed and treated in institutions providing mental health care. Considering the increasing numbers of children and adolescents seen in psychiatric services, the increase of psychotropic medications is less strong though still pronounced enough to stimulate further reflections on the use of these interventions.

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8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:06 Feb 2015 10:04
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:57
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1018-8827
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-014-0631-y
PubMed ID:25378107
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-106915

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