What Your Patients are Hearing

Prescribing psychotropics to pediatric patients


Writing about prescribing psychotropics to children for depression, anxiety, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sometimes brings conspiratorial accusations from readers, pediatrician Perri Klass, MD, writes in her column, “The Checkup” in the New York Times.

Some readers react to these discussions by suggesting that Dr. Klass is beholden to pharmaceutical companies. Others suggest that she wants to medicate young patients for behaviors that are a normal part of childhood. Of course, prescribing those medications to young patients should never be taken lightly, she says.

“It is a big deal, and there are side effects to worry about and doctors should listen to families’ concerns,” writes Dr. Klass, professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University. “But when a child is suffering and struggling, families need help and medications are often part of the discussion.”

Dr. Klass goes on to interview Doris M. Greenberg, MD, and psychiatrist Timothy Wilens, MD, about the way they approach the treatment of children with psychiatric illness. A critical step, according to Dr. Wilens, is discussing the diagnosis with the child’s parents and reaching an agreement with them on the problem.

Click here to read Dr. Klass’s article in the Times.

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