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Psychotropic Drugs in Children: Responding to Parents Questions

Freeman recommends that the physician should be prepared for a potential barrage of questions by the enlightened parent consumer. Such questions may include any or all of the following:
• How do drugs change behaviour?
• My child has brain damage. Will he react differently?
• Should something else be tried first?
• Which behaviour should be treated first?
• How quickly will the drug take effect?
• Are drugs abused by teachers? Institutions?
• What are the different kinds of drugs?
• What changes can I expect at adolescence?
• Are all brands the same?
• How long will she have to take the drug?
• How many drugs can he take at the same time?
• How many times a day does she need to take it?
• How do the drug doses differ from adults’?
• What time does he take them in relation to meals?
• Are drug samples ok?
• Should parents adjust dosage?
• Should drugs be discontinued suddenly?
• Why do stimulants slow down hyperactivity?
• Will she become addicted to this or other drugs?
• What side-effects can I expect?
• Do other drugs interact with this one?
• What side-effects mean that we should stop giving the drug?
• What examinations or blood tests will he have to take? How often?
• Will she become dazed or “out of it”?
• Will it slow down his learning?
• When will you want to change dosage?
• Will it affect her nutrition?

A simple time-saving technique that may anticipate most questions is to provide the family with a drug information pamphlet. The parents should be advised to read the pamphlet and then to ask questions.

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