Mental health medications used for adolescents

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Mental Health Medications Used for Adolescents
The medications below are among those most commonly used to treat mental health disorders in children and adolescents. Though not intendedto be a comprehensive guide or to replace the advice of a doctor, this information may prove useful to juvenile defenders seeking to understandthe purposes and possible consequences of their clients’ prescriptions.
Medication (generic name)
Approved age* For treatment of
Common side effects
constipation, orthostatic hypotension, blurry Antidepressants
Selective Serotonin
suicide (not Prozac), headaches, GI upset, Reuptake Inhibitors
sedation, movement disorders (may be lasting), weight gain, orthostatic hypotension, cognitive Antipsychotics
blunting, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, decreased seizure thresholdweight gain, diabetes, orthostatic hypotension, sedation, movement disorders (may be lasting), cognitive blunting, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, Antipsychotics
decreased seizure threshold, agranulocytosis (atypical***)
(Clozaril only), EKG changes (Risperdal only) dizziness, seizures, body tempurature regulation (necessitates avoiding heat)acne, polyuria, polydipsia, thyroid dysfunction, GI upset, dizziness, weight gain, enuresis, Mood Stabilizers
liver damage, polycystic ovary disease, GI upset, dizziness, weight gain, enuresis, tremors, sedation GI upset, dizziness, weight gain, enuresis, Additional Information
ADHD: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder * The Food and Drug Administration approves drugs after required testing. Most medications are only tested on subjects ages 18 and older, so the FDA does not officially sanction use of those drugs for children; it does not, however, prohibit doctors from writing “off-label” prescriptions for young patients.
** SSRIs are a class of antidepressant medications. Evidence that SSRIs can lead to suicidal Definitions
behavior has led British drug regulators to advise against their use for children and an advisory agranulocytosis: a decrease in white blood cells panel has recommended to the FDA that it issue stronger warnings about their risks to youth. The orthostatic hypotension: a sudden fall in blood pressure that FDA has advised doctors against prescribing Paxil pending further study. Prozac has been exempt from these warnings in both Britain and the United States.
*** Atypical antipsychotic medications are newer than standard antipsychotics. They are now enuresis: the uncontrolled or involuntary discharge more widely used than standard anitpsychotics, though they have not been proven more effective.
Marty Beyer, Ph.D.
Sabine Hack, M.D. and Brian Klee, M.D. Guide to Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents.
Sherry Boschert. “Side Effects Guide Antipsychotic Drug Choices: Atypicals vs. Typicals.” Clinical About Our Kids, New York University Child Study Center, Feb. 27, 2001. Available at Psychiatry News, Vol. 31, Issue 10. Oct. 1, 2003. Used by permission.
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration. Drug information Jeffrey Kluger. “Medicating Young Minds.” Time. Nov. 3, 2003.
National Institute of Mental Health. Medications. NIH Publication No. 02-3929, Revised April 2002, Erica Goode. “British Warning on Antidepressant Use for Youth.” The New York Times. Dec. 11, 2003.
Reprinted Sept. 2002. Available at
Erica Goode. “Stronger Warning is Urged on Antidepressants for Teenagers.” The New York Times. Compiled by Sarah Marcus of the National Juvenile Defender Center organizational, research and advocacy skills.
to fully exercise and enhance their legal, political, The juvenile defense system will be enhanced by greater adequate opportunities exist for juvenile defenders be advanced through collaboration and partnership; and The representation of children is specialized and The juvenile defense bar’s role in the justice system will bring about reform in the juvenile justice system; Juvenile defenders have resources and pay parity The juvenile defense bar must promote accountability and expert and other ancillary and administrative develop leadership and demonstrate a commitment to caseloads, and sufficient access to investigation, The juvenile defense bar must build its capacity, protect children’s rights, including adequate constitutional and statutory protections; Juvenile defenders have the capacity to fully productive members of society and each has the right to All children have strengths and the potential to become Excellence is routine in juvenile defense; free of racial, ethnic, gender, social, and economic bias; individualized; developmentally and age appropriate; and Juvenile courts are knowledgeable, sensitive and All children are entitled to legal representation that is: Children are treated with respect, dignity and timely access to capable, well-resourced, well-trained works to create an environment in which:
All children in the justice system must have ready and The National Juvenile Defender Center
We believe that:
To ensure excellence in juvenile defense and promote justice for all children National Juvenile Defender Center
Juvenile Justice Center Criminal Justice Section American Bar Association
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