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Annual Meeting
Pediatric Psychopharmacology: All Your Questions Get Answered
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 6 page 16-17

Are you a general psychiatrist or primary care physician caring for an increasing number of young patients in your practice? Do you find more questions than answers about pediatric pharmacotherapy in the medical literature? If you are, then mark your calendar for the Presidential Institute at APA's 2008 annual meeting on May 4, when a group of distinguished experts in child and adolescent psychiatry will provide a comprehensive review of current research and clinical guidelines in pediatric psychopharmacology.

Organized by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the program is designed to inform and advise general psychiatrists and primary care physicians on practical issues they face in treating children with psychiatric illness.

"This institute is designed to address the terrible shortage of child psychiatrists," said APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D. "We are collaborating with AACAP to develop these programs to answer very practical psychopharmacology questions of general psychiatrists and pediatricians."

Because of a severe lack of clinical research, physicians often have to rely on the guidelines and their experience in treating adults to" guestimate" the appropriate drugs and doses for children. Growing evidence suggests, however, that children are not "little adults" and often respond to pharmacotherapy very differently from adults.

Laurence Greenhill, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist, will review research evidence on pharmacotherapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and how the evidence influences therapeutic decisions. Among the many research projects he has participated in, Greenhill was an investigator in the Multimodal Treatment Study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA Study) and the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS), both funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. He is president-elect of AACAP.

Also included will be two presentations on treating pediatric mental disorders in a primary care setting. Jefferson Prince, M.D., director of child psychiatry at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass., and on the faculty of the Psychiatry Department at Harvard Medical School, will talk about the management of depression. John Walkup, M.D., an associate professor and deputy director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School, will discuss anxiety disorders. Adelaide Robb, M.D., an associate professor in child and adolescent psychiatry at George Washington University Medical School and the medical director of the Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Department at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., will present 10 key points to help primary care physicians optimize treatment for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and pervasive developmental disorders and aggression in young patients.

The final presentation will tie the lectures together and use clinical cases to demonstrate the practical application of this information in day-to-day patient care.

"I'm very excited about the program," Robinowitz said. She urges general psychiatrists and primary care practitioners to attend the institute.

"This is a special opportunity for physicians who treat children and adolescents regularly in their practice. It will help them feel more confident and comfortable in treating a variety of childhood mental illnesses from depression to bipolar disorder, from ADHD to autism spectrum disorders."▪

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