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Child mental health experts issue psychiatric medication treatment guidelines for preschoolers
Date:12/3/2007

The number of preschool-age children being treated with stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs is on the rise, despite limited research and a lack of clinical practice guidelines. In a first step toward standardizing treatment approaches, child mental health professionals from the Bradley Hasbro Childrens Research Center and 11 other institutions have developed recommendations for specific disorders to help clinicians who are considering medications for children ages 3 to 6.

These guidelines from the Preschool Psychopharmacology Working Group which includes clinicians and researchers in early childhood psychiatric disorders, psychopharmacology, general and behavioral pediatrics, neurodevelopmental processes, and clinical psychology are published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Without established treatment guidelines, clinicians and families face a delicate balancing process. If child continues to have severe or dangerous symptoms after non-medication treatments, the physicians and families must weigh the potential risks of medications with the risks of not intervening in complex clinical situations, said lead author Mary Margaret Gleason, M.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Childrens Research Center.

Our goal was to begin to close the gap between practice and evidence by clearly defining the current state of psychopharmacological treatment of preschoolers, encouraging judicious practice, and using existing evidence and clinical consensus to provide treatment guidelines for these young children, added Gleason, whos also a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Gleason and colleagues developed treatment algorithms for nine common mental health disorders based on a review of existing literature on the use of psychiatric medications in preschoolers, knowledge about preschoolers development, a
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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