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Encephale. 1993 Mar-Apr;19(2):71-4.

Use of anxiolytics in children.

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  • 1Royal Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario.


Anxiety disorders are among the most frequent of childhood psychiatric disorders. These disorders can persist from childhood and adolescence into adulthood, resulting in impaired functioning at home, school or work. Some anxiety disorders like generalized or separation anxiety are acute requiring urgent, short-term treatment. Others like fears or inhibitions are chronic resulting in longterm handicaps. Other psychiatric disorders may be concurrent with, or misdiagnosed as, anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be associated with mood or behavioral disorders. When anxiety is symptomatic of another disorder, the primary disorder should be treated first. The pharmacology of childhood anxiety has been hindered by the lack of reliable quantitative evaluations, and the changes in the manifestations of anxiety. Various types of drugs have been used to treat anxiety and related disorders. The use of different drugs is reviewed. The results of a controlled clinical trial with alprazolam and two trials with buspirone in the treatment of child and adolescent anxiety are presented. While these results are promising, further clinical trials are a priority.

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