Risks and Benefits

Making decisions about medication for a child with emotional or behavioral problems can be daunting, especially when more than one medication is involved.

When children have complex psychiatric symptoms, or aren’t responding adequately to a medication they are taking, doctors often recommend adding another medication.

Taking multiple psychoactive medications is called “polypharmacy.” And studies show that the number of children taking more than one medication is soaring.

Combining medications can be effective when they’re prescribed and monitored carefully by a doctor who is an expert in using them with children. But it’s important for parents to be informed about the risks inherent in adding medications, and signs that you should be concerned about what a doctor is recommending.