State of the Evidence for Use of Psychotropic Medications in School-Age Youth

Jeffrey D. Shahidullah, Holly Roberts, John Parkhurst, Rachel Ballard, Jennifer A. Mautone, John S. Carlson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Psychotropic medications are commonly prescribed to school-aged youth for the management of mental health concerns. This paper describes the current state of evidence for psychotropic medications in school-aged youth. More specifically, the following sections summarize relevant medication research trials and practice parameters pertaining to psychotropic medication prescribing as well as the specific medications indicated for a range of commonly presenting disorders and symptom clusters in school-aged youth. For each of these disorders and symptom clusters, key findings pertaining to the current state of science and practice are highlighted for the purpose of offering patients, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers with nuanced considerations for the role of psychopharmacology within the context of a larger “whole-child” approach to care that relies on the collaboration of providers and services across systems of care to promote optimal child and family health and wellness. The paper concludes with a discussion about supporting the use of medication treatments in schools, including considerations for ensuring effective family-school-health system collaboration to best meet youth mental health needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1454
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • mental health
  • pediatric psychopharmacology
  • psychotropic medications
  • school age youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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