Psychopharmacology in Preschool Children

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1 Scopus citations


The preschool period is a dynamic stage of development giving rise to unique mental health assessment and treatment challenges. In the context of these developmental issues, the use of psychotropic medication must be preceded by a comprehensive assessment by a clinician skilled in the mental health assessment of this age group. Pharmacology is not used as a first line of treatment in the preschool period in most cases, exceptions of this may include Autism Spectrum Disorders and severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The reasons for this position include the unclear effects of psychotropic medications on the rapidly developing brain, the under-studied general medical safety and efficacy of these medications in children younger than age six, and some evidence that preschoolers may have greater sensitivity to the side effects of some psychotropics. Behavior that pose erious risks of safety to self and others along with severity of illness can necessitate a cautiously monitored psychotropic trial with emphasis on ongoing therapy, minimal effective dosage, and frequent attempts to discontinue the medication as soon as feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPharmacotherapy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780470973769
StatePublished - Feb 17 2012


  • Preschool
  • prescriptions
  • psychopharmacology
  • psychotropics


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