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Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists' Reported Monitoring Behaviors for Second-Generation Antipsychotics



The number of children and adolescents (hereafter referred to as "children") who have been prescribed second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) has increased over the last decade, but little is known about monitoring practices in pediatric patients who are vulnerable to adverse effects. We examined factors associated with psychiatrists' self-reported monitoring of children who were prescribed SGAs.


A survey was mailed to a national, randomly selected sample of 1600 child and adolescent psychiatrists from the American Medical Association mailing list. Using logistic regression, we tested whether psychiatrist characteristics, attitudes, and practice characteristics were associated with monitoring (baseline and/or periodic) the following: Patient history, height and weight, blood pressure, waist circumference, lipid and glucose levels, and electrocardiogram.


Among the analytic sample of 308, at least two thirds reported monitoring patient history, height and weight, blood pressure, and fasting plasma lipids and glucose; 23% reported monitoring waist circumference; and 12% reported conducting an electrocardiogram. More than one third stated that they routinely monitored thyroid levels and more than half reported monitoring complete blood count and electrolytes/blood urea nitrogen. Psychiatrists reporting that they were able to measure vital signs on site were more likely to measure height and weight. Those who reported feeling comfortable conducting a physical examination were more likely to measure blood pressure. Those answering that the risk of metabolic syndrome was low were less likely to measure blood pressure and waist circumference. Being board certified and able to measure vital signs on site were associated with more monitoring of glucose and lipid levels. Conversely, years in practice and feeling that patients were nonadherent with blood work were associated with less monitoring of glucose and lipid levels.


In this sample, inconsistent monitoring patterns of children prescribed SGAs were found. Efforts to communicate guidelines' evidence base and improve office capacity to measure and track adverse effects are needed to increase appropriate adverse effect monitoring in children who have been prescribed SGAs.

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