We examined caregiver’s knowledge, attitudes, and concerns about their child’s psychotropic medication regimen and the potential side effects, describe how they seek information regarding treatment, and ascertain their perspectives toward deprescribing.
We surveyed 48 caregivers of children 6–17 years old treated with two or more psychotropic medications or an antipsychotic medication, analyzing outcomes using descriptive statistics.
Almost all (N = 44, 92%) participants reported feeling very knowledgeable about why medications were prescribed, but only one-third (N = 16, 33%) reported feeling very knowledgeable about potential problems with long-term use or polypharmacy. Half of respondents (N = 24, 50%) reported asking their provider about reducing/stopping medications due to concerns about harmful effects, and nearly half (N = 20, 42%) reported stopping medications earlier than recommended.
Interventions to engage caregivers in shared decision-making about complex medication regimens and to support prescribers to safely deprescribe psychotropic medications are needed to address caregivers’ concerns regarding psychotropic medication use.
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The authors would like to thank all of the research assistants who helped us by administering surveys, conducting literature searches or revising tables, including Chibuzo Aguwa, Kieshan Amarakaran, MacKenzie Cunniff, Emily Hichborn, Brendon Lin, Michaela Ricker, and Miranda Todt. We are grateful for the support and cooperation of the participating clinics and the staff who made this project possible. We would especially like to recognize the parents and caregivers who completed the survey. We deeply appreciate their willingness to take the time to share their thoughts and experiences with us.
There was no external funding for this study.
Conflict of interest
Dr. McLaren reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Dr. Barnett has no financial or conflict of interest disclosures to report. Ms. Acquilano reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Dr. Concepcion Zayas reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Dr. Drake reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Dr. Leyenaar received consultancy support for research with the American Board of Pediatrics Foundation, unrelated to the current work.
Author A reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Author B has no financial or conflict of interest disclosures to report. Author C reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Author D reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Author E reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. Author F received consultancy support for research with the American Board of Pediatrics Foundation, unrelated to the current work.
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McLaren, J.L., Barnett, E.R., Acquilano, S.C. et al. Psychotropic Polypharmacy and Antipsychotics in Children: A Survey of Caregiver’s Perspectives. Community Ment Health J 58, 512–516 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-021-00845-2