Part 3: Questions to Ask
Medication may be an important part of treatment for some psychiatric
disorders in children and adolescents. Psychiatric medication
should only be used as one part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Ongoing evaluation and monitoring by a physician is essential.
Parents should be provided with complete information when psychiatric
medication is recommended as part of their child's treatment plan.
Children and adolescents should be included in the discussion
about medications, using words they understand. By asking the
following questions, children, adolescents, and their parents
will gain a better understanding of psychiatric medications:
- What is the name of the medication? Is it known by other names?
- What is known about its helpfulness with other children who
have a similar condition to my child?
- How will the medication help my child? How long before I see
improvement? When will it work?
- What are the side effects which commonly occur with this medication?
- What are the rare or serious side effects, if any, which can
- Is this medication addictive? Can it be abused?
- What is the recommended dosage? How often will the medication
- Are there any laboratory tests (e.g. heart tests, blood test,
etc.) which need to be done before my child begins taking the
medication? Will any tests need to be done while my child is
taking the medication?
- Will a child and adolescent psychiatrist be monitoring my
child's response to medication and make dosage changes if necessary?
How often will progress be checked and by whom?
- Are there any other medications or foods which my child should
avoid while taking the medication?
- Are there any activities that my child should avoid while
taking the medication? Are any precautions recommended for other
- How long will my child need to take this medication? How will
the decision be made to stop this medication?
- What do I do if a problem develops (e.g. if my child becomes
ill, doses are missed, or side effects develop)?
- What is the cost of the medication (generic vs. brand name)?
- Does my child's school nurse need to be informed about this
Treatment with psychiatric medications is a serious matter for
parents, children and adolescents. Parents should ask these questions
before their child or adolescent starts taking psychiatric medications.
Parents and children/adolescents need to be fully informed about
medications. If, after asking these questions, parents still have
serious questions or doubts about medication treatment, they should
feel free to ask for a second opinion by a child and adolescent
psychiatrist. Parents seeking a referral for any reason to a local
child and adolescent psychiatrist may contact the AACAP, 3615
Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016, (202) 966-7300.
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Medication, Part 2
Daycare.com would like to thank American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for this information
in striving to make daycare and childcare a more productive and
efficient service. You can contact them at: 3615 Wisconsin Ave.,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 voice: 202-966-7300 fax: 202-966-2891.