PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
PART III: QUESTIONS TO ASK

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 MEDICATIONS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS PART III: QUESTIONS TO ASK

Medication may be an important part of treatment for some psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. Psychiatric medication should only be used as one part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Ongoing evaluation and monitoring by a physician is essential. Parents should be provided with complete information when psychiatric medication is recommended as part of their child's treatment plan. Children and adolescents should be included in the discussion about medications, using words they understand. By asking the following questions, children, adolescents, and their parents will gain a better understanding of psychiatric medications:

  1. What is the name of the medication? Is it known by other names?
  2. What is known about its helpfulness with other children who have a similar condition to my child?
  3. How will the medication help my child? How long before I see improvement? When will it work?
  4. What are the side effects which commonly occur with this medication?
  5. What are the rare or serious side effects, if any, which can occur?
  6. Is this medication addictive? Can it be abused?
  7. What is the recommended dosage? How often will the medication be taken?
  8. Are there any laboratory tests (e.g. heart tests, blood test, etc.) which need to be done before my child begins taking the medication? Will any tests need to be done while my child is taking the medication?
  9. Will a child and adolescent psychiatrist be monitoring my child's response to medication and make dosage changes if necessary? How often will progress be checked and by whom?
  10. Are there any other medications or foods which my child should avoid while taking the medication?
  11. Are there any activities that my child should avoid while taking the medication? Are any precautions recommended for other activities?
  12. How long will my child need to take this medication? How will the decision be made to stop this medication?
  13. What do I do if a problem develops (e.g. if my child becomes ill, doses are missed, or side effects develop)?
  14. What is the cost of the medication (generic vs. brand name)?
  15. Does my child's school nurse need to be informed about this medication?

Treatment with psychiatric medications is a serious matter for parents, children and adolescents. Parents should ask these questions before their child or adolescent starts taking psychiatric medications. Parents and children/adolescents need to be fully informed about medications. If, after asking these questions, parents still have serious questions or doubts about medication treatment, they should feel free to ask for a second opinion by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Parents seeking a referral for any reason to a local child and adolescent psychiatrist may contact the AACAP, 3615 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016, (202) 966-7300.

 

Article #51 Updated 11/95

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).
   
All Family Resources
4286 Redwood Hwy. Suite 401 San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: 415-491-9170  
Email the Webmaster
1998 - 2001All Family Resources, http://www.familymanagement.com. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use