Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

Over 40% of medicated foster children were receiving polypharmacy of 3 or more psychotropic drugs.

The authors examined Medicaid data for a random sample of 472 medicated youth in foster care aged 0 through 19 years in a southwestern U.S. state. Of the foster children who had been given psychotropic medication, 41% received > or = 3 different classes of these drugs and 16% received > or = 4 different classes. The most frequently used psychotropic medications were antipsychotic agents (53 %) attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs (56%) and antidepressants (57%).

From the source:

“However, it is unclear whether the dispensing of ≥3 different psychotropic medication classes concomitantly to children in foster care represents a treatment advantage. “


Polypharmacy, Foster care, Antipsychotic medication, Stimulant medication, Antidepressant medication, Children’s mental health, Medicaid


Zito JM, Safer DJ, Sai D, et al. Psychotropic medication patterns among youth in foster care. Pediatrics. 2008;121(1):e157-63.