Pharmacotherapy in Pedatric PTSD: A Developmentally-Focused Review of the Evidence

Author(s): Jeremy M. Wilkinson , Victor G. Carrion .

Journal Name: Current Psychopharmacology

Volume 1 , Issue 3 , 2012

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After the experience of a traumatic event, children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to developing debilitating symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Criteria for diagnosing this disorder in the pediatric population have proven insufficiently sensitive for children, especially those who are very young. Age-related PTSD symptom expression suggests PTSD assessment and treatment requires developmental consideration. Preschool age children, school age children, adolescents, and adults also possess potentially distinct differences from one another in pharmacokinetics, psychosocial influences, and neurobiology. Pharmacotherapy is often indicated for use in the treatment of pediatric PTSD. Extrapolation of evidence in adult literature for safety, tolerability, and efficacy is nonlinear and should not substitute for dedicated drug trials in pediatric PTSD. This paper reviews all identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs), uncontrolled and open label trials, and case reports/series regarding pharmacotherapy in this population. Emphasis is placed on methodologic rigor and developmental consideration. These trials are discussed in sufficient detail to inform readers of their relative strengths and weaknesses, and of the generalizability of the studies’ conclusions. This review summarizes reports by drug class and developmental cohorts (preschool age, school age, and adolescents). The review will help clinicians a) decide when medications are needed, b) understand current evidence-based alternatives and c) utilize a developmental approach in the selection of medication.

Keywords: Adolescents, children, development, medication, pediatric, pharmacotherapy, PTSD, review, UCLA PTSD-I, Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs), hyperarousal, Beta-Blockers, Antiepileptics, or AEDs, propranolol, Quetiapine.

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [252 - 270]
Pages: 19
DOI: 10.2174/2211556011201030252
Price: $58

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