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Focus on Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health: Introduction. Medication and Diagnostic Issues

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(2):238-239
10.4088/JCP.09f05018

This section of Focus on Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health presents timely information on the topics of polypharmacy, the olanzapine safety profile, the role of conduct disorder in the development of substance use disorder in adolescents with bipolar disorder, and autistic spectrum disorder symptoms in a group of adolescent suspects of sex offenses.

Recent attention has focused on the use of polypharmacy for children with psychiatric disorders. McIntyre and Jerrell examine the use of polypharmacy for treatment of major depressive disorder in children and adolescents using data obtained from the South Carolina Medicaid program between the period January 1996 and December 2005. Consistent with clinical expectations, they found that the likelihood of psychotropic polypharmacy increased when there were comorbid psychiatric disorders, with odds ratios ranging from 1.5 for 1 comorbid disorder to 9.8 for 6 comorbid disorders compared to an odds ratio of 0.4 for major depressive disorder alone.