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Trends in the prescribing of psychotropic medications for inpatient children and adolescents, 2000–2010: a study from China

Song, Qing-Yuna,b; Guo, Lan-Tinga

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: July 2013 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 193–199
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32836140d6
Original Articles

The objective of this study was to investigate the patterns in prescribing of psychotropic drugs for children and adolescents within the psychiatric department of a general hospital in China. Medical records of 878 patients (0–18 years old) were reviewed in 2000, 2005 and 2010. Patient characteristics, total psychotropic drug use and the proportionate use of each drug class (antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers and anxiolytic–hypnotic drugs) were analysed. The results indicated that there was a 19.2% increase in the overall use of psychotropic drugs during the study period. The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors increased from 24.8 to 45%, whereas that of tricyclic antidepressants decreased from 17.7 to 0.5%. The use of second-generation antipsychotics increased from 56 to 80%. In contrast, the use of first-generation antipsychotic decreased from 26.2 to 6.5%. The use of valproate also increased significantly from 2.1 to 16.4%. In patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors increased from 1.2 to 18.9% and that of valproate increased from 0 to 12.6%. The increasing trends in psychotropic drug use necessitate addition research to confirm their safety and efficacy in this specific population.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, West China Hospital

bWest China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence to Lan-Ting Guo, MD, Department of Psychiatry, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China Tel: +86 18980601720; fax: +86 2885422632; e-mail:;

Received November 24, 2012

Accepted March 14, 2013

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins