Developments in Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

New edition of the Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents

Child and adolescent psychopharmacology has really come into its own over the last 15 years. More and more psychopharmacology clinical trial data in this age group are increasingly showing us that children are not just little adults and that they respond differently to psychiatric medications.

Although new medications are being approved for use in children and adolescents, a vast number of treatments remain unapproved even though evidence is available of efficacy and safety in this age group. Sifting through all the information to manage complex psychopharmacological regimens in this age group is a real challenge for psychiatrists, pediatricians, nurses, and pharmacists. The Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents (CHPD CA) endeavors to provide a valuable resource to meet this clinical need.

Our editorial team of experienced clinical pharmacy specialists and child psychiatrists track new developments in clinical practice to help clinicians extend the range of treatments they can offer patients, including off-label options, such as prazosin for PTSD-related nightmares or memantine for irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder. The 4th edition of the CHPD CA provides state-of-the-art information about dozens of new medications and formulations on the market in both the US and Canada. When evidence-based treatments are not readily available, recommendations are made based on pharmacological and pharmacokinetic principles.

When preparing a new edition of CHPD CA, we constantly strive to make the information more accessible and useful for professionals in their daily work. That’s why colleagues love the comparison charts we include, as these are hands-on tools they can use to make clinical decisions, whether selecting the right antidepressant for a particular patient or identifying alternative treatments when a patient is experiencing too many side effects. One table that we hear clinicians often use is the adverse effect comparison chart for the various antipsychotic medications. Information that doesn’t fit into a chart or table is made accessible through the use of full color and easily recognizable icons as well as bullets. We often hear of colleagues who actually sit down with patients and a copy of the book to talk about treatment options.

Increasingly, symptoms of catatonia are being recognized as being “hidden in plain sight” in children and adolescents with mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and autism spectrum disorders, as well as medical illnesses, and information regarding diagnosis and management of this complex syndrome is included in the 4th edition of CHPD-CA for the first time.

While the CHPD-CA book may not fit in your pocket, it is comprehensive, offering an abundance of established information and new ideas for prescribing psychotropic medications specifically for children and adolescents. If portability is a priority, consider obtaining online access to the electronic version of CHPD CA, which is also available.

Dean Elbe, PharmD, BCPP

Dean Elbe is a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Board-Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist working as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in child and adolescent mental health at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. He is an international speaker on food–medication interactions and child and adolescent psychopharmacology. Dean’s research interests include developing clinical tools for clinicians and members of the public to obtain factual information about drug interactions between prescription medications and substances of abuse.