Psychotropic medications prescribing patterns for children and adolescents in New York's public mental health system

John S. Lyons, James C. MacIntyre, Michael E. Lee, Sharon Carpinello, Michael P. Zuber, Marcia L. Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Breakthroughs in the development of effective medications for a number of psychiatric disorders have led to increased use of these compounds in the treatment of children. Objectives: To understand the use of psychotropic medications in the treatment of children, a state-wide study was undertaken based on the data collected in a large planning study. Data and Setting: A stratified random sample of 10 different program types in New York State produced data on children served in different specialty mental health services. Participants: Randomly selected cases were reviewed at a randomly selected sites to generate a sample of 1592 cases on which data were collected on clinical presentation and service use, including psychotropic medication prescriptions. Main Outcome Measures: The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS-MH) tool was used to provide a reliable review of clinical indicators. Results: Psychotropic medication use is common in the children's public mental health service system in New York. Most children served in high intensity settings receive medication as a part of their treatment. It appears that most prescriptions for stimulants and antidepressants are consistent with either diagnostic or symptom indications. Many children with these indications are not on medications. On the other hand, a large number of children without evidence of psychosis receive antipsychotic medications. Conclusion: The evidence suggests that stimulant and antidepressant are not over-prescribed. However, the use of antipsychotic medications for other indications is a priority for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The authors wish to thank the leadership of the OMH for their support in this work including James Stone, Linda Rosenberg, and Chip Felton. The authors would like to thank Rose Gong, Melissa Abraham, Purva Rawal for their assistance in the collection of data. The authors also thank Harry Shallcross for his work in conceptualizing the larger project in which these data were collected and Families Together for New York for their support and involvement in this work.


  • Children
  • Prescribing patterns
  • Psychotropic medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychotropic medications prescribing patterns for children and adolescents in New York's public mental health system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this