Treating pediatric anxiety

Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications

Greta A. Bushnell*, Scott N. Compton, Stacie B. Dusetzina, Bradley N. Gaynes, M. Alan Brookhart, John Timothy Walkup, Moira A. Rynn, Til Sturmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Multiple pharmacotherapies for treating anxiety disorders exist, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the recommended first-line pharmacotherapy for pediatric anxiety. We sought to describe initial antianxiety medication use in children and estimate how long antianxiety medications were continued. Methods: In a large commercial claims database, we identified children (3-17 years) initiating prescription antianxiety medication from 2004 to 2014 with a recent anxiety diagnosis (ICD-9-CM = 293.84, 300.0x, 300.2x, 300.3x, 309.21, 309.81, 313.23). We estimated the proportion of children initiating each medication class across the study period and used multivariable regression to evaluate factors associated with initiation with an SSRI. We evaluated treatment length for each initial medication class. Results: Of 84,500 children initiating antianxiety medication, 70% initiated with an SSRI (63% [95% CI, 62%-63%] SSRI alone, 7% [95% CI, 7%-7%] SSRI + another antianxiety medication). Non-SSRI medications initiated included benzodiazepines (8%), non-SSRI antidepressants (7%), hydroxyzine (4%), and atypical antipsychotics (3%). Anxiety disorder, age, provider type, and comorbid diagnoses were associated with initial medication class. The proportion of children refilling their initial medication ranged from 19% (95% CI, 18%-20%) of hydroxyzine initiators and 25% (95% CI, 24%-26%) of benzodiazepine initiators to 81% (95% CI, 80%-81%) of SSRI initiators. Over half (55%, 95% CI, 55%-56%) of SSRI initiators continued SSRI treatment for 6 months. Conclusions: SSRIs are the most commonly used first-line medication for pediatric anxiety disorders, with about half of SSRI initiators continuing treatment for 6 months. Still, a third began therapy on a non-SSRI medication, for which there is limited evidence of effectiveness for pediatric anxiety, and a notable proportion of children initiated with 2 antianxiety medication classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16m11415
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume79
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Prescriptions
Anxiety
Pediatrics
Anxiety Disorders
Hydroxyzine
Benzodiazepines
Drug Therapy
International Classification of Diseases
Therapeutics
Antidepressive Agents
Antipsychotic Agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Bushnell, G. A., Compton, S. N., Dusetzina, S. B., Gaynes, B. N., Brookhart, M. A., Walkup, J. T., ... Sturmer, T. (2018). Treating pediatric anxiety: Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 79(1), [16m11415]. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.16m11415
Bushnell, Greta A. ; Compton, Scott N. ; Dusetzina, Stacie B. ; Gaynes, Bradley N. ; Brookhart, M. Alan ; Walkup, John Timothy ; Rynn, Moira A. ; Sturmer, Til. / Treating pediatric anxiety : Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications. In: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2018 ; Vol. 79, No. 1.
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abstract = "Objective: Multiple pharmacotherapies for treating anxiety disorders exist, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the recommended first-line pharmacotherapy for pediatric anxiety. We sought to describe initial antianxiety medication use in children and estimate how long antianxiety medications were continued. Methods: In a large commercial claims database, we identified children (3-17 years) initiating prescription antianxiety medication from 2004 to 2014 with a recent anxiety diagnosis (ICD-9-CM = 293.84, 300.0x, 300.2x, 300.3x, 309.21, 309.81, 313.23). We estimated the proportion of children initiating each medication class across the study period and used multivariable regression to evaluate factors associated with initiation with an SSRI. We evaluated treatment length for each initial medication class. Results: Of 84,500 children initiating antianxiety medication, 70{\%} initiated with an SSRI (63{\%} [95{\%} CI, 62{\%}-63{\%}] SSRI alone, 7{\%} [95{\%} CI, 7{\%}-7{\%}] SSRI + another antianxiety medication). Non-SSRI medications initiated included benzodiazepines (8{\%}), non-SSRI antidepressants (7{\%}), hydroxyzine (4{\%}), and atypical antipsychotics (3{\%}). Anxiety disorder, age, provider type, and comorbid diagnoses were associated with initial medication class. The proportion of children refilling their initial medication ranged from 19{\%} (95{\%} CI, 18{\%}-20{\%}) of hydroxyzine initiators and 25{\%} (95{\%} CI, 24{\%}-26{\%}) of benzodiazepine initiators to 81{\%} (95{\%} CI, 80{\%}-81{\%}) of SSRI initiators. Over half (55{\%}, 95{\%} CI, 55{\%}-56{\%}) of SSRI initiators continued SSRI treatment for 6 months. Conclusions: SSRIs are the most commonly used first-line medication for pediatric anxiety disorders, with about half of SSRI initiators continuing treatment for 6 months. Still, a third began therapy on a non-SSRI medication, for which there is limited evidence of effectiveness for pediatric anxiety, and a notable proportion of children initiated with 2 antianxiety medication classes.",
author = "Bushnell, {Greta A.} and Compton, {Scott N.} and Dusetzina, {Stacie B.} and Gaynes, {Bradley N.} and Brookhart, {M. Alan} and Walkup, {John Timothy} and Rynn, {Moira A.} and Til Sturmer",
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Bushnell, GA, Compton, SN, Dusetzina, SB, Gaynes, BN, Brookhart, MA, Walkup, JT, Rynn, MA & Sturmer, T 2018, 'Treating pediatric anxiety: Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications', Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, vol. 79, no. 1, 16m11415. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.16m11415

Treating pediatric anxiety : Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications. / Bushnell, Greta A.; Compton, Scott N.; Dusetzina, Stacie B.; Gaynes, Bradley N.; Brookhart, M. Alan; Walkup, John Timothy; Rynn, Moira A.; Sturmer, Til.

In: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 79, No. 1, 16m11415, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Treating pediatric anxiety

T2 - Initial use of SSRIs and other antianxiety prescription medications

AU - Bushnell, Greta A.

AU - Compton, Scott N.

AU - Dusetzina, Stacie B.

AU - Gaynes, Bradley N.

AU - Brookhart, M. Alan

AU - Walkup, John Timothy

AU - Rynn, Moira A.

AU - Sturmer, Til

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Objective: Multiple pharmacotherapies for treating anxiety disorders exist, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the recommended first-line pharmacotherapy for pediatric anxiety. We sought to describe initial antianxiety medication use in children and estimate how long antianxiety medications were continued. Methods: In a large commercial claims database, we identified children (3-17 years) initiating prescription antianxiety medication from 2004 to 2014 with a recent anxiety diagnosis (ICD-9-CM = 293.84, 300.0x, 300.2x, 300.3x, 309.21, 309.81, 313.23). We estimated the proportion of children initiating each medication class across the study period and used multivariable regression to evaluate factors associated with initiation with an SSRI. We evaluated treatment length for each initial medication class. Results: Of 84,500 children initiating antianxiety medication, 70% initiated with an SSRI (63% [95% CI, 62%-63%] SSRI alone, 7% [95% CI, 7%-7%] SSRI + another antianxiety medication). Non-SSRI medications initiated included benzodiazepines (8%), non-SSRI antidepressants (7%), hydroxyzine (4%), and atypical antipsychotics (3%). Anxiety disorder, age, provider type, and comorbid diagnoses were associated with initial medication class. The proportion of children refilling their initial medication ranged from 19% (95% CI, 18%-20%) of hydroxyzine initiators and 25% (95% CI, 24%-26%) of benzodiazepine initiators to 81% (95% CI, 80%-81%) of SSRI initiators. Over half (55%, 95% CI, 55%-56%) of SSRI initiators continued SSRI treatment for 6 months. Conclusions: SSRIs are the most commonly used first-line medication for pediatric anxiety disorders, with about half of SSRI initiators continuing treatment for 6 months. Still, a third began therapy on a non-SSRI medication, for which there is limited evidence of effectiveness for pediatric anxiety, and a notable proportion of children initiated with 2 antianxiety medication classes.

AB - Objective: Multiple pharmacotherapies for treating anxiety disorders exist, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the recommended first-line pharmacotherapy for pediatric anxiety. We sought to describe initial antianxiety medication use in children and estimate how long antianxiety medications were continued. Methods: In a large commercial claims database, we identified children (3-17 years) initiating prescription antianxiety medication from 2004 to 2014 with a recent anxiety diagnosis (ICD-9-CM = 293.84, 300.0x, 300.2x, 300.3x, 309.21, 309.81, 313.23). We estimated the proportion of children initiating each medication class across the study period and used multivariable regression to evaluate factors associated with initiation with an SSRI. We evaluated treatment length for each initial medication class. Results: Of 84,500 children initiating antianxiety medication, 70% initiated with an SSRI (63% [95% CI, 62%-63%] SSRI alone, 7% [95% CI, 7%-7%] SSRI + another antianxiety medication). Non-SSRI medications initiated included benzodiazepines (8%), non-SSRI antidepressants (7%), hydroxyzine (4%), and atypical antipsychotics (3%). Anxiety disorder, age, provider type, and comorbid diagnoses were associated with initial medication class. The proportion of children refilling their initial medication ranged from 19% (95% CI, 18%-20%) of hydroxyzine initiators and 25% (95% CI, 24%-26%) of benzodiazepine initiators to 81% (95% CI, 80%-81%) of SSRI initiators. Over half (55%, 95% CI, 55%-56%) of SSRI initiators continued SSRI treatment for 6 months. Conclusions: SSRIs are the most commonly used first-line medication for pediatric anxiety disorders, with about half of SSRI initiators continuing treatment for 6 months. Still, a third began therapy on a non-SSRI medication, for which there is limited evidence of effectiveness for pediatric anxiety, and a notable proportion of children initiated with 2 antianxiety medication classes.

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