Rosenberg, Holttum and Gershon’s Pharmacotherapy of Childand Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders

David R. Rosenberg, John Holttum and Samuel Gershon: Pharmacotherapy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders. First edition. Brunner/Mazel, New York, (1994).  (554 pages).

INFORMATION ON CONTENTS: Pharmacotherapy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders opens with a Foreword by David Kupfer and a Preface by the authors. The text is presented in two sections. In Section I, an Introduction to Psychopharmacology in child and adolescent psychiatry is given; and in Section II, Classes of Medication used in child and adolescent psychiatry are reviewed.  The first section consists of two chapters: one that provides a Historical Perspective on Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, and another, written by Robert A. Branch, that describes Characteristics of Drug Disposition (distribution and elimination) during childhood. The second section consists of 12 chapters, from which 12 (chapters 3 to 12) deal with different classes of drugs, one (chapter 13), with Pharmacologic Approaches to Consult-Liaison Psychiatry in child and adolescent psychiatry, and the last (chapter 14),  with Pharmacologic Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders  in Children and Adolescents. The 12 classes of drugs reviewed from chapter 3 to 12 are: Psychostimulants, Tricyclic Antidepressants, Novel (Atypical) Antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, trazodone, bupropion, and thyroid hormones), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, Antipsychotic Agents, Lithium, Anticonvulsants, Anxiolytics, and Adrenergic Agents in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Each chapter includes References, and the volume is complemented with an Appendix, Name Index, Subject Index, and Information on the Authors.

EDITOR’S STATEMENT: At the time this volume was written, psychopharmacology in children and adolescents was in its infancy. This volume was the first textbook published on the topic of Pharmacotherapy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders. By the time it was published, adult psychopharmacology had developed to the point where there was already a range of therapeutic agents being prescribed for a variety of psychiatric disorders. It seemed that child psychiatry would inherit a large stock of potential therapeutic agents. Imipramine, for example, by that time was established as an antidepressant in adults and considered as a significant therapeutic advance. Hence, child psychiatry approached this compound as having an excellent possibility of transferring it from adults for use in children and adolescents with depression. This, of course, required dosage adjustments in keeping with weight and age of the patient. It seemed we had all of the potential for a dramatic start in child and adolescent psychopharmacology with this agent. This, however, was not to be the case. Its introduction was followed by a number of positive therapeutic reports in the literature. After several years, the positive reports dwindled and a new question arose…is it actually having a beneficial effect in this population? This question was put to the test of a randomized control trial by Puig Antich and his associates in 1987 in Pittsburgh. The results when published caused quite a disappointment for this new field. The reason being, it was shown to be ineffective in the control study. Thus, preparation of the first edition taught us all that the stockpile of pharmaceuticals in the adult armamentarium could not necessarily be transferred to the child population.


Samuel Gershon

February 20, 2014