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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;34(9):1124-32.

Psychopharmacology in child and adolescent psychiatry: a review of the past seven years. Part I.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.



To present a critical overview of the literature published in the past 7 years on the efficacy and safety of psychoactive agents in mental retardation with associated psychiatric disorders, autistic disorder, Tourett's disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials and open studies were reviewed and selected reports presented.


The literature review reveals that progress has been made in the psychopharmacological treatment of the above conditions. This is partly because more studies use larger sample sizes and a narrower age range of diagnostically homogeneous patients and use a more sophisticated methodology than in previous years. Greater attention is being paid to a critical assessment of psychoactive agents and to their safety, to the efficacy as well as to the effectiveness of drugs. The 5-year National Plan for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Disorders (1991) based on the Institute of Medicine Report (1989) already has had a significant impact on psychophamacology research.


Advances in methodology, initiatives of the National Institute of Mental Health, and the advent of DSM-IV should continue to enhance research and improve pharmacotherapy in clinical practice.

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