Talking with Children about Medication: From ethics to patient education

G. Oana Costea, MD
Director, Children’s Program, Bradley Hospital
Associate Professor (Clinical), Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Steven J. Barreto, PhD
Psychologist, Family Therapy Program
Adult Outpatient Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital
Associate Professor (Clinical), Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

The increasing use of psychotropic medications in children with emotional and behavioral problems has become a controversial topic over the last several years.  Additionally, only a few psychotropic medications carry an FDA indication for use in pediatrics. Therefore, when conditions are resistant to other interventions, psychotropic medications are prescribed “off label” after careful consideration of the risks involved.  The module discusses the ethical and developmental aspects involved in talking with children about medications, along with strategies that can improve effectiveness of medication education.