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New guidelines are out for primary care providers and mental health specialists to help them manage the complex problem of childhood aggression. The Mayo Clinic, which released the guidelines with other research institutions and youth mental health experts, is now providing best practice goals which include improving diagnosis and care and avoiding inappropriate use of medication, especially the off-label variety.
Treating and managing childhood maladaptive aggression is complex, explained Peter Jensen, MD, a mayo Clinic psychiatrist. Many doctors are prescribing antipsychotics and mood-stabilizing drugs on an outpatient basis to treat overt aggression. He believes there could be multiple causes for the aggression and this strategy may not always be appropriate.
“These large-scale shifts in treatment practices have occurred despite potentially troubling side effects and a lack of supportive empirical evidence,” Dr. Jensen said. “With the increase in the prescription of psychotropic agents outside of FDA-approved indications, concerns have been raised over treatment decision-making, appropriate use of alternative therapies, long-term management, safety of multiple drug regimens and successful parental engagement and education.”
The guidelines were created by the Mayo Clinic, The REACH Institute, the Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics at Rutgers University, and 60 national experts in the fields of policy, research, advocacy and child and adolescent psychiatry which achieved consensus on improving the treatment of aggressive children and adolescents.
“The guidelines were developed to help mental health specialists and primary care clinicians work closely together in the optimal management of the all-too-common, but very difficult problem of aggression in children and youth,” Dr. Jenson stated.
The guideline is published online in the journal Pediatrics.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Mayo Clinic
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