Objective The aim of this study was to investigate the use of psychotropic medication in children and adolescents hospitalised in a psychiatric ward. Methods A prospective analysis of psychotropic drug prescriptions was conducted for all patients hospitalised in two acute psychiatric hospitalisation units of a paediatric teaching hospital in Paris, France. The study group consisted of 187 patients and was characterised in terms of age, sex, prior psychiatric hospitalisation and DSM-IV-Tr diagnosis. All prescriptions were assessed for off-label use. Results Overall, 46% of patients received at least one dose of psychotropic medication. Antipsychotic drugs were the most frequently prescribed drugs (44%), regardless of diagnosis. Ninety percent of patients who received antipsychotic drugs did not have psychosis. We found that 69% of the 421 prescriptions written were for off-label uses. The percentage distribution of off-label prescriptions by medication class was as follows: antipsychotic drugs, 90%; anxiolytics, 28%; stimulants, 26%; antidepressants, 89%; antiepileptic drugs, 89% and antiparkinsonian drugs, 91%. Conclusion The extensive use of drugs for off-label indications in children and adolescents suggests that prospective post-marketing studies should be carried out to evaluate efficacy and safety.
Child Psychiatry France Prescribing practices Off-Label prescribing Paediatrics Psychotropic drugs
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Conflict of interests
The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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