Medications Prescribed for Children With Mood Disorders: Effects of a Family-Based Psychoeducation Program

ArticleinExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 15(6):555-62 · January 2008with14 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.71 · DOI: 10.1037/1064-1297.15.6.555 · Source: PubMed


    Few controlled trials have examined psychotropic medications in children with mood disorders. Multiple medications are often prescribed for these children, who frequently suffer from several comorbid conditions. However, this polypharmacy has been infrequently studied and may lead to adverse drug-drug interactions. Multi-Family Psychoeducation Groups (MFPGs) are an 8-session, manual-driven treatment for children with mood disorders, designed as an adjunct to current medications and psychotherapy. In part, MFPG teaches parents and children to be better consumers of mental health care, including medications. This study examined the effect of MFPG on medications taken by 165 children, ages 8-11, with mood disorders. The authors hypothesized that MFPG would not affect the mean number of medications taken but that the variance in number of medications would decrease from pre- to posttreatment (i.e., the number of medications prescribed for any given child should become more closely distributed around the sample mean). Approximately 70% of participants were diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorders, and 30% were diagnosed with depressive spectrum disorders. Most had both comorbid behavioral (97%) and anxiety (69%) disorders. Information regarding medications was gathered 4 times: at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 months. Approximately half (n=78) of the participants were randomized into immediate treatment, and half (n=87) were randomized into a 1-year wait-list condition. All were encouraged to continue treatment as usual throughout the study. As hypothesized, no significant pre- to posttreatment differences were found between groups for the mean number of current medications, but variance declined significantly from pre- to posttreatment. Implications and future research goals are discussed.