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Research Letter
November 2, 2020

Characteristics of Youths Treated With Psychotropic Polypharmacy in the United States, 1999 to 2015

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore
  • 2Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(2):196-198. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.4678

The use of medication from 2 or more psychotropic classes, ie, polypharmacy,1 has increased among US youths2 despite limited evidence of efficacy and mounting safety concerns.3 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved several psychotropic classes, eg, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and second-generation antipsychotics, for expanded use in pediatric populations,4,5 but it is unknown whether this corresponds with the observed increase in psychotropic polypharmacy and who is more likely to receive psychotropic polypharmacy. Our goal was to investigate differences during a 17-year study period in the characteristics of US youths treated with psychotropic polypharmacy and in the psychotropic classes used in combination.

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