Antidepressants for children

Antidepressants for children

It has been long debated among psychiatric specialists about treatment of depression related disorders in children and adolescents with antidepressants. Some experts are against the use of antidepressants in pediatrics, reasoning that the adolescent cognition is not sufficiently developed, thus incorrect use of powerful stimulants may lead to long-lasting psychological disturbances.

After all, most antidepressants come with side effects, that might hinder a child’s development. Parents need to be well-informed about possible risks prior to purchasing antidepressants for their kids. Their family doctor, in turn, is obligated to carefully evaluate the condition of a child and to clearly understand the treatment goals and which prescriptions best suit the specific therapeutic case.

Pediatricians and psychiatrists are required to understand which of the antidepressants are suited for treatment of adolescents and whether there are side effects that may correlate the exceptional patient’s characteristics to developmental progression.

Clinical practices and knowledge base in this field are less developed than those of adult psychiatry. It is clearly known, however, that there are substantial side effect risks related to suicidal tendencies. Still, there were clinical studies that were instrumental in finding much needed knowledge, attaining clearer understanding of appropriate dosage and treatment duration for children and adolescents with antidepressant prescription medication.

Such prescription drugs as Venlafaxine and Paroxetine are known to pose a greater risk concerning suicidal tendencies. While the substance known as Sertraline has proven to take a complete opposite effect and essentially lowers the risk of such side effects.

Therefore, it is strictly required to consult a health care professional in order to select antidepressant treatment course that is the most appropriate for the age group of the patient.

Antidepressants for children


What antidepressants for children are available for purchase

  • Fluoxetine and Citaloplam are FDA approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder;
  • Sertraline is approved for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • Atomoxetine is best suited to treat ADHD, it is highly recommended as a replacement for Adderall;
  • Citalopram, Fluoxetine and Sertraline (belonging to SSRIs – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant group) – used to treat neurosis, predisposition to panic attacks and anxiety;

Hence, there are several main categories for antidepressant prescriptions, as we can see from this summary, that can be used to treat various mental health related complications in children.

Let’s review each medication in detail

The substance known as Sertraline is also known and is distributed under the name Zoloft. Children between the ages of 6-12 may take only the minimal dose of Zoloft of 25 mg at most. Following the age of 12, the prescription dosage may be increased to 50 mg in the span of 24 hours, same as for adults,
Dosage may also vary depending on the availability of possible accompanying ailments, that might interfere with the medication intake and the antidepressant treatment course. For this reason, it is essential for the parents to be informed of side effects and contraindications of Sertraline and medication dosage.

Citalopram is distributed under the brand name Celexa. If you can not find this item on sale, then seek the active ingredient. Currently, there are over 10 generic Citalopram pharmaceuticals on the market.

On paper, this antidepressant is only suitable for adolescents over the age of 15. In practice, however, it is sometimes prescribed to children from the ages 12 and on, but in lower doses. Once again, only a health care professional may suggest proceeding with such therapy course, if applicable.

  • Initial dose quantity for Citalopram is 20 mg in the span of 24 hours;
  • Dosage may be increased after 2 weeks of treatment only if there were no side effects.

Citalopram side effects may include suicidal tendencies, but the risk is minimized if the intake quantity is strictly followed.

Fluoxetine is distributed under the brand name Prozac. This is probably the most prescribed antidepressant for children. The side effects of Fluoxetine are rare and largely manageable.

Initial dosage of Fluoxetine for children is 20 mg in the span of 24 hours. Treatment is suitable for adolescents of the ages 15 and older, but there may be exceptional cases.

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