Medications & Psychiatry

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Psychiatry Under the InfluenceAlternatives Beyond PsychiatryAmerican MadnessAmerican PsychosisAn Unquiet MindAntipsychiatryBad PharmaBefore ProzacBetter Than ProzacBiological PsychiatryBipolar, Not So MuchBlack Man in a White CoatBlaming the BrainBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrainwashedClinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously SimpleComfortably NumbCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplete Mental HealthConcise Guide to PsychopharmacologyCrackedCritical PsychiatryCultural FormulationDeconstructing PsychosisDemystifying PsychiatryDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisordered Personalities and CrimeDoctoring the MindDoctors of DeceptionDrop the Disorder!DruggedDrugs for LifeEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEssential PsychopharmacologyEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderEssentials of Psychiatric DiagnosisEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEthics in PsychiatryEvidence-Based Treatment of Personality DysfunctionExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessFinding the Right Psychiatrist:Forces of HabitHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHappy Pills in AmericaHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHerbs for the MindHigh PriceHippocrates CriedHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHookedHuman TrialsInfectious MadnessInspired SleepIntoxicating MindsIs It Me or My Meds?Let Them Eat ProzacLife-Threatening Effects of Antipsychotic DrugsLitLiving with Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad ScienceMalignant SadnessMedicating ChildrenMedicating Modern AmericaMental Health in Asia and the PacificMind FixersMoments of EngagementMommy I'm Still in HereNatural Healing for DepressionNo One Cares About Crazy PeopleNot CrazyOrdinarily WellOur Daily MedsOverdosed AmericaPathologist of the MindPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPharmaceutical FreedomPharmacracyPharmageddonPharmageddonPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPoets on ProzacPower HerbsPowerful MedicinesPrescriptions for the MindProfits Before People?Prozac and the New AntidepressantsProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac DiaryProzac on the CouchPsychiatric DiagnosisPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatry and EmpirePsychiatry and the Business of MadnessPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry at a GlancePsychiatry in PrisonsPsychiatry ReconsideredPsychopathyPsychopharmacology Problem SolvingPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePsychotropic Drugs And Popular CulturePsychotropic Drugs: Fast FactsRaising Generation RxRe-Visioning PsychiatryRecovery from SchizophreniaReligious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric DiagnosisRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySaving NormalSchizophreniaShock TherapyShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShrinksSide EffectsSometimes Amazing Things HappenStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsSuccessful PsychopharmacologySuffer the ChildrenTaking America Off DrugsTalking Back to ProzacTextbook of Cultural PsychiatryThe $800 Million PillThe Age of AnxietyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Big FixThe Book of WoeThe Complete Guide to Herbal MedicinesThe Conceptual Evolution of DSM-5The CorrectionsThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Cult of PharmacologyThe Dream DrugstoreThe Emperor's New DrugsThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2006The Making of DSM-III®The Medical Model in Mental HealthThe Medicated ChildThe Medication QuestionThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Natural Pharmacist : Natural Health Bible from the Most Trusted Alternative Health Site in the World The Pill BookThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe PlaceboThe Rise and Fall of the Biopsychosocial ModelThe Sedated SocietyThe Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Use and Misuse of Psychiatric DrugsThe World of CaffeineThomas S. SzaszToxic PsychiatryTrouble in MindTry to RememberTry to RememberTwilight of American SanityUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnhingedVoluntary MadnessWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWhat Is Mental Illness?What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5What Works for Whom?Will@epicqwest.comWomen, Madness and MedicineYour Drug May Be Your Problem

Related Topics
Pediatric PsychopharmacologyReview - Pediatric Psychopharmacology
Fast Facts
by Daniel F. Connor and Bruce M. Meltzer
W. W. Norton, 2006
Review by Ben Lovett
Apr 17th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 16)

Anyone who works with children in the 21st century deals with psychiatric drugs. Teachers observe the effects of Ritalin and Adderall on their students' disruptive behavior, while parents look for signs of improvement in their depressed sons and daughters taking Prozac and Paxil. Pediatricians and family physicians are called on for these drugs more commonly than the child psychiatrists who are so scarce in many areas, and counselors and psychologists often weigh in with their own advice about which drug they've seen the best results with.

Connor & Meltzer's Pediatric Psychopharmacology: Fast Facts supplements such anecdotal evidence with research-based facts distilled from hundreds of studies concerning the effects of psychiatric drugs in children and adolescents, as well as many more studies conducted with adults. The writing is crisp and clear, the research is up to date, and perhaps most importantly, the information is easy to find quickly. The authors state in their preface that they wrote the book as a reference work rather than as a text to be read straight through, and this aim has been well fulfilled.

The book opens with three introductory chapters on pharmacology and special issues in pediatric pharmacology. Although some of this information (e.g., the basics of drug metabolism) will be a review for medically trained readers, all readers will appreciate how concisely the information is presented. Moreover, the chapter on "general principles of treatment" covers topics not always taught to prescribing physicians, such as how to use behavior rating scales to assess and monitor psychiatric symptoms before, during, and after a trial of medication.

The next section of the book contains 10 chapters, one on each class of drugs (e.g., antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.). For each drug, the book provides information on the mechanism by which the drug works (e.g., which brain chemicals the drug affects), indications and contraindications (times when the drug should or should not be prescribed), guidelines for determining dosage, side effect profiles, and potential interactions with other drugs. Often, there are tables that list each relevant study of the drug, along with how many research participants improved on the drug. Perhaps surprisingly, there are chapters on "alternative medications" (e.g., herbal medications such as St. John's Wort) and electroconvulsive therapy (an electric shock procedure used in certain cases of very severe and treatment-resistant mental illness). For a medical reference work, the writing is relatively free in jargon, and this is consistent with Connor & Meltzer's stated desire that the book be "accessible to the clinician and layperson alike." One unfortunate exception to the book's general accessibility is that trade names for the medications are listed in only one table somewhere in each chapter (and not even in the index), requiring users to look up drugs by their generic or chemical name.

A third section of the book consists of 12 chapters, each one covering a disorder (e.g., ADHD) or class of disorders (e.g., mood disorders). It is here that the book shows its great usefulness for physicians and others (e.g., nurse practitioners) making prescription decisions. Each chapter contains general information about each disorder (diagnostic criteria, prevalence, general treatment strategies other than medication) before presenting guidelines for drug treatment. Especially helpful are chapters on disorders not typically associated with drug treatment: conduct problems, eating disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders (e.g., autism). As in the previous section of the book, tables are often used here to summarize individual studies, again giving the reader a sense of the research base being used to make recommendations.

Five appendices and a bibliography round out the book, and these sections are just as important as the earlier ones. One of the appendices contains over 70 pages of forms to be used in diagnosing disorders, assessing medication effects and side effects, and tracking patient progress over time. Other appendices summarize the drug efficacy literature, review the effects of psychiatric drugs on the cardiovascular system, and list professional organizations and support groups for those interested. Finally, the bibliography cites all of the relevant books and articles referenced in the main text, as well as other general resources in each area. It is these features that distinguish the book from so many other "quick facts" references for physicians.

In sum, Pediatric Psychopharmacology does just what it set out to do; it provides an accessible reference for those interested in the effects of psychiatric medications on children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems. It will be most helpful for those professionals who either prescribe psychiatric medications (e.g., pediatricians) or work with children who take the medications (e.g., psychologists) and must understand their effects. However, parents and other interested people can also certainly read the book with profit.


© 2007 Ben Lovett


Ben Lovett is currently a doctoral candidate in the psychology department at Syracuse University, where his research interests include learning disabilities and ADHD.


Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716