Hong Kong J Psychiatry 2005;15:63-64


Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents

Editors: Kalyna Z Bezchlibnyk-Butlier, Adil S Virani
Hogrefe & Huber, Cambridge, 2004
US$49.95; pp 306; ISBN: 0-88937-271-3

pdf Full Paper in PDF

The use of psychotropic medications for children and adolescents is often based upon their efficacy in adults because few controlled studies for this younger age group have been reported. However, research data are becoming increasingly available, and it is crucial that clinicians keep up with the findings.

This attractive looking handbook provides a quick up-to-date practical guide to a range of psychotropic drugs com- monly used for children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders. As a reference source for clinicians, the first sec- tion of the book discusses the use of stimulants and non- stimulants for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics, and mood stabilisers. For each class of drugs, there is a compre- hensive list of information, including the approved and off- label indications for their use, basic pharmacology, product availability, dosing regimen, pharmacokinetics, adverse effects, precautions, toxicity, use in pregnancy, drug interactions, and mechanisms of action. Where available, monograph statements and evidence from open and double-blind stud- ies are included. This information is clearly presented. Data comparing the different drugs within a class are concisely tabulated, providing clinicians with easy access to some important and relevant information about alternative medications. This section includes discussion about aug- mentation strategies. An additional feature is the general advice on the care of children and adolescents taking these medications, provided under the heading Nursing Implications, which is sensible and practical.

The second section of the book gives an overview of some of the substances that are commonly abused such as stimulants, hallucinogens, alcohol, opiates, inhalants, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, and hypnotics. The pharmacologi- cal and psychiatric effects, drug interactions, and immedi- ate management strategies are outlined.

To keep clinicians up-to-date about herbal products, there is a short 4-page section that focuses on some of these com- pounds such as ginkgo biloba, inositol, melatonin, omega 3 fatty acids, St John’s wort, and valerian. The evidence for the effectiveness and the types of evidence available are highlighted. This book cautions that very few of these prod- ucts have undergone stringent research methods, and there is a lack of conclusive evidence for their effectiveness.

The last section of the book is a set of information sheets that are intended for clinicians to pass on to the patients and their caregivers. Practical information for each of the drugs described in the book is provided. The name of the drug, how it should be taken, side effects, drug interactions and precautions are included. The aims of this section accord- ing to the editors are to “enhance compliance, improve efficacy, and enhance safety”. Having the material presented in a written format is definitely a useful adjunct and rein- forcement to the information clinicians should explain dur- ing the consultation. However, I personally find some of the information sheets too verbose, and adolescents or caregivers who are less well educated may find this an ef- fort to absorb.

All in all, I have enjoyed this book. It is a useful guide for busy clinicians and one that puts pharmacotherapy for child and adolescent psychiatry into context.

Kelly Lai
Department of Psychiatry
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

View My Stats