Sound Off on Psych MedsAdvocating for prudent medication use

There has been a significant increase in the percentage of children receiving polypharmacy with antipsychotic medications.

Researchers examined physician survey data based on 27,979 child patient visits involving youth aged 6 to 17 years recorded in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys over a 12 year period, from 1996–2007. A total of 3466 child visits (9%) involved a psychotropic prescription. Visits in which youth received polypharmacy (two or more psychotropic meds) increased from 14% to 20% over the 12 years. During this period of antipsychotic polypharmacy use doubled, from 5% in the period 1996-1999 compared to 11% in the period 2004-2007.

From the source:

“…a number of physician training programs, quality improvement initiatives, and explicit criteria have been developed in an effort to restrain the growth of polypharmacy in mental health care. Yet, despite these efforts, the overall rate of multi-class psychotropic treatment in children outpatient practice has increased significantly in recent years.”


Polypharmacy, Children’s mental health, Off-label use of medication


Comer JS, Olfson M, Mojtabai R. National trends in child and adolescent psychotropic polypharmacy in office-based practice, 1996-2007. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010;49(10):1001-1010.