Treating mental health disorders in children and adolescents

Examining the use of psychotropic drugs in children and adolescents for mental health disorders.

Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents

The 3rd edition of the ‘Clinical handbook of psychotropic drugs for children and adolescents’ follows the format and content of the more established adult version. It is aimed at people working in child and adolescent mental health services.

This is one of the few books available that looks specifically at the use of medicines to treat mental health conditions affecting children. It establishes a brief context of the disorders and provides comprehensive information on the medicines, including covering common and less used drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, herbal medicines and some alternative treatments. The book covers all of the main therapeutic areas and provides useful tables to compare medicines, such as side effects, receptor pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. There is also a short section on drugs that are abused in this demographic.

Much of the information is adapted and extrapolated from adults. However, where there is evidence of differences in children these are highlighted. The pharmacokinetic tables at the end of each section provide suggested doses and are useful as a quick summary of the available drugs.

Because this is published in the United States, the formulations and indications of many medicines are different from the British versions and there are a number of medicines that are not licensed in the UK, which does limit its usefulness to UK pharmacists. The book comes with downloadable patient information sheets but these are not particularly focused on children or adolescents and would be more suitable to provide to carers.

Some areas are less well covered, including how medicines are administered. However, this may be due to the increased availability of alternative formulations in the US market.

Overall this is a useful addition to the otherwise limited resources for any pharmacy service providing advice on mental health medicines to children and adolescents.


‘Clinical handbook of psychotropic drugs for children and adolescents 3rd edition’ by Elbe D, Bezchlibnyk-Butler K Z, Virani A S , Procyshyn R M. Pp 362 Price £54. Gottingen: Hogrefe Publishing; 2014. ISBN 978 0 88937 456 0

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 24 January 2015, Vol 294, No 7846;294(7846):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20067142