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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;38(4):204-11.

Single and combined psychotropic medication use in a child and adolescent mental health service.

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  • 1Alfred Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Level 2, 999 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin Victoria 3189, Australia.



An audit of the extent and effectiveness of medication prescribing in a metropolitan child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) is presented, given the lack of data about medication effectiveness in CAMHS.


The audit involved: (i) determining the rates of prescription of different medications, the symptoms, syndromes and diagnoses for which they were used, and the profession of the medication prescriber; and (ii) a semistructured interview of clinicians using combination pharmacotherapy enquiring about the rationale for its use and the outcomes obtained.


Two hundred and thirty-five patients using medication were included in the study. A range of medications were prescribed, both alone and in combination. Indications for combination therapy were a single medication being ineffective or associated with adverse effects. They were targeted at symptoms and were associated with no increase in adverse effects. Trainees did relatively little prescribing.


This study confirms earlier findings that medical practitioners are prescribing combination pharmacotherapy despite a lack of research to support this practice. Trainees working in CAMHS may be receiving inadequate experience in prescribing psychotropic medication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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