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Combined pharmacotherapy in children and adolescents in a residential treatment center.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.



To investigate characteristics of children and adolescents with a history of combined pharmacotherapy (CPT) and compare them with a group with no history of CPT.


Eighty-three consecutive admissions to a residential treatment center were divided into a CPT and a no-CPT group based on treatment history and compared by chart review. Prevalence of lifetime psychiatric medication use and CPT exposure were assessed. Demographic, diagnostic, treatment, behavioral, and medication variables were compared across the two groups.


Medication use was present in the treatment history for 89.2% and a history of CPT was found for 60.3% of subjects. Admission to current placement from inpatient psychiatry, lifetime number of psychiatric placements, lifetime number of psychiatric diagnoses, and nonseizure neuropsychiatric comorbidity were significantly associated with CPT. Aggression and neuroleptic use were also significantly associated with CPT. Admission psychiatric diagnostic comorbidity was not associated with CPT.


A high prevalence of psychiatric medication use and CPT was found in this population. Variables assessing illness severity, aggressive behavior, and nonseizure neuropsychiatric comorbidity may identify youths in psychiatric treatment settings with a high prevalence of past or current CPT exposure. Further research on the CPT of aggression is warranted.

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