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Letter to the Editor

Pediatric Psychopharmacology: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed

Robert L. Findling, MD, MBA

Published: September 15, 2012

Pediatric Psychopharmacology: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed

Edited by Andrés Martin, MD, MPH; Lawrence Scahill, MSN, PhD; and Christopher J. Kratochvil, MD. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2011, 810 pages, $189.00 (hardcover).

The rates at which children and teenagers are being prescribed medications have been increasing over recent years. Moreover, although much more needs to be learned about pediatric psychopharmacology, the amount of information regarding the safety and effectiveness of pharmacologic treatments is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. For this reason, an up-to-date comprehensive textbook on this topic of notable significance to prescribers of psychotropic agents in the young is both timely and clinically salient.

The text is divided into 4 sections. The first focuses on neuro-ontology, neurobiology, genetics, and basic pharmacology. The chapters on brain development and pharmacokinetics are very clearly written. Perhaps even more importantly, the chapters seem to be written with a clinician readership in mind. All told, there are 11 chapters that focus on the neurobiological underpinnings of a variety of psychiatric conditions. Incorporated in this subsection are one chapter that cogently reviews the neurobiology of early life stress and another well-written chapter about aggressive behavior.

The next section considers specific treatments. As might be expected in a book on pediatric psychopharmacology, there are 7 chapters that focus on different medication classes. However, chapters on complementary/alternative medicine and on electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation were both additions that furthered the comprehensiveness of this book.

The third part is certainly the lengthiest. Not surprisingly, since this is a textbook of medication therapy, a substantial number of pages are dedicated to the treatment of specific conditions and disorders. What adds nicely to this section of this work are chapters that focus on general principles of care as well as a series of chapters that consider distinct groups of patients, such as preschool-aged youths and pregnant teenagers.

Of course, the practice of medicine is not static, and it does not occur in a vacuum. The fourth and final section considers clinical trials methodology, ethical issues, and regulatory issues as they relate to pediatric psychopharmacology. Chapters on pharmacoepidemiology contribute fittingly to the focus of this section.

In short, this textbook succeeds in being a comprehensive resource on the topic of pediatric psychopharmacology. Knowledge that extends from laboratory-based endeavors to individual patients to population-based considerations is included in this book. Despite the book’s length, breadth, and depth, as well as the fact that it is a multiauthored work, it is clearly written and meticulously organized. This thorough recapitulation of where pediatric psychopharmacology is today would make an excellent addition to one’s library.

Robert L. Findling, MD, MBA

Author affiliation: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Potential conflicts of interest: Dr Findling receives or has received (in the last 12 months) research support from, has acted as a consultant for, and/or has served on a speaker’s bureau for Alexza, American Psychiatric Press, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Guilford Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, Johnson & Johnson, KemPharm, Lilly, Lundbeck, Merck, National Institutes of Health, Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, Roche, Sage, Shionogi, Shire, Stanley Medical Research Institute, Sunovion, Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Transcept Pharmaceuticals, and WebMD.

Volume: 73

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