PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
PART II: TYPES OF MEDICATIONS

Articles for Parents
All Family Resources
Alphabetical List
  1. Children and Divorce
  2. Teenagers with Eating Disorders
  3. Teens: Alcohol and Other Drugs
  4. The Depressed Child
  5. Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises
  6. Children Who Can't Pay Attention
  7. Children Who Won't Go to School
  8. Children and Grief
  9. Child Sexual Abuse
  10. Teen Suicide
  11. The Child with Autism
  12. Children Who Steal
  13. Children and TV Violence
  14. Children and Family Moves
  15. The Adopted Child
  16. Children with Learning Disabilities
  17. Children of Alcoholics
  18. Bedwetting
  19. The Child with a Long-Term Illness
  20. Making Day Care a Good Experience
  21. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part I: How Medications Are Used
  22. Normality
  23. Mental Retardation
  24. Know When to Seek Help for Your Child
  25. Who can be contacted to seek Help for Your Child
  26. Know Your Health Insurance Benefits
  27. Stepfamily Problems
  28. Responding to Child Sexual Abuse
  29. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part II: Types of Medications
  30. Children and AIDS
  31. When Children Have Children
  32. 11 Questions to Ask Before Psychiatric Hospital Treatment of Children and Adolescents
  33. Conduct Disorders
  34. Children's Sleep Problems
  35. Tic Disorders
  36. Helping Children After a Disaster
  37. Children and Firearms
  38. Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) in Teens
  39. Children of Parents with Mental Illness
  40. The Influence of Music and Music Videos
  41. Substance Abuse Treatment for Children and Adolescents: Questions to Ask
  42. The Continuum of Care
  43. Discipline
  44. Children and Lying
  45. Lead Exposure
  46. Home Alone Children
  47. The Anxious Child
  48. Problems with Soiling and Bowel Control
  49. Schizophrenia in Children
  50. Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  51. Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents Part III: Questions to Ask
  52. Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
  53. What is Psychotherapy For Children and Adolescents?
  54. Children and Watching TV
  55. Understanding Violent Behavior in Children & Adolescents
  56. Parenting: Preparing for Adolescence
  57. Normal Adolescent Development - Middle School and Early High School Years
  58. Normal Adolescent Development - Late High School Years and Beyond
  59. Children Online
  60. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  61. Children and Sports
  62. Talking to Your Kids About Sex
  63. Gay And Lesbian Adolescents
  64. Foster Care
  65. Children's Threats: When are they serious? 
  66. Helping Teenagers with Stress
  67. Children and The News
  68. Tobacco and Kids
  69. Asperger's Disorder
  70. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  71. Multiracial Children
  72. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  73. Self-Injury in Adolescents
  74. Advocating for Your Child
  75. Pets and Children
  76. Helping Your Teen Become a Safe Driver
  77. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  78. When a Pet Dies
  79. Obesity in Children and Teens
  80. Bullying #80
PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS PART II: TYPES OF MEDICATIONS

Psychiatric medications can be an effective part of the treatment for psychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence. In recent years there have been an increasing number of new and different psychiatric medications used with children and adolescents. Research studies are underway to establish more clearly which medications are most helpful for specific disorders and presenting problems. Clinical practice and experience, as well as research studies, help physicians determine which medications are most effective for a particular child. Before recommending any medication, the psychiatrist (preferably a child and adolescent psychiatrist) should conduct a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of the child or adolescent. The youngster's presenting psychiatric symptoms along with past response to medications and also consideration of possible side effects will determine the choice of medication. Psychiatric medication should only be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Stimulant Medications: Stimulant medications are often useful as part of the treatment for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Examples include: Dextroamphet- amine (Dexedrine, Adderal), Methylphenidate (Ritalin), and Pemoline (Cylert).

Antidepressant Medications: Antidepressant medications are used in the treatment of depression, school phobias, panic attacks, and other anxiety disorders, bedwetting, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. There are several types of antidepressant medications (tricyclics, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and atypical). Examples of tricyclic antidepressants (TCA's) include: Amitriptyline (Elavil), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Imipramine (Tofranil), and Nortriptyline (Pamelor). Examples of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRI's) include: Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Venlafaxine (Effexor), and Citalopram (Celexa). Examples of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's) include: Phenelzine (Nardil), and Tranylcypromine (Parnate). Examples of atypical antidepressants include: Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Nefazodone (Serzone), Trazodone (Desyrel), and Mirtazapine (Remeron).

Antipsychotic Medications: Antipsychotic medications can be helpful in controlling psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations) or disorganized thinking. These medications may also help muscle twitches ("tics") or verbal outbursts as seen in Tourette's Syndrome. They are occasionally used to treat severe anxiety and may help in reducing very aggressive behavior. Examples of traditional antipsychotic medications include: Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Thioridazine (Mellaril), Fluphenazine (Prolixin), Trifluoperazine (Stelazine), Thiothixene (Navane), and Haloperidol (Haldol). Newer antipsychotic medications (also known as atypical or novel) include: Clozapine (Clozaril), Risperidone (Risperdal), Quetiapine (Seroquel), Olanzapine (Zyprexa), and Ziprasidone (Zeldox).

Mood Stabilizers and Anticonvulsant Medications: Mood stabilizers may be helpful in treating manic-depressive episodes, excessive mood swings, aggressive behavior, impulse control disorders and severe mood symptoms in schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. Lithium (lithium carbonate, Eskalith) is an example of a mood stabilizer. Some anticonvulsant medications can also help control severe mood changes. Examples include: Valproic Acid (Depakote, Depakene), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Gabapentin (Neurontin), and Lamotrigine (Lamictil).

Anti-anxiety Medications: Anti-anxiety medications may be helpful in the treatment of severe anxiety. There are several types of anti-anxiety medications: benzodiazepines; antihistamines; and atypicals. Examples of benzodiazepines include: Alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), Diazepam (Valium),and Clonazepam (Klonopin). Examples of antihistamines include: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and Hydroxizine (Vistaril). Examples of atypical anti-anxiety medications include: Buspirone (BuSpar), and Zolpidem (Ambien).

Sleep Medications: A variety of medications may be used for a short period to help with sleep problems. Examples include: SRI anti-depressants, Trazodone (Desyrel), Zolpidem (Ambien), and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

Miscellaneous Medications: Other medications are also being used to treat a variety of symptoms. For example: clonidine (Catapres) may be used to treat the severe impulsiveness in some children with ADHD and guanfacine (Tenex) for "flashbacks" in children with PTSD.

When prescribed appropriately by an experienced psychiatrist (preferably a child and adolescent psychiatrist) and taken as directed, medication may reduce or eliminate troubling symptoms and improve daily functioning of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.

For additional information see Facts for Families: #21 Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents: Part I - How Medications Are Used, #51 Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents: Part III - Questions to Ask. See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).

Article #29 Updated 2/00

All Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving us permission to use this article.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists who are physicians with at least five years of additional training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Facts for Families is developed and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Facts sheets may be reproduced for personal or educational use without written permission, but cannot be included in material presented for sale. To order full sets of FFF, contact Public Information, 1.800.333.7636.  Free distribution of individual Facts sheets is a public service of the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund. Please make a tax deductible contribution to the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund and support this important public outreach. (AACAP, Special Friends of Children Fund, P.O. Box 96106, Washington, D.C. 20090).
   
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