Use of multiple psychotropic medications among adolescents aging out of foster care

Ramesh Raghavan, J. Curtis McMillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study described the prevalence of and risk factors for using multiple concurrent psychotropics among adolescents leaving foster care. Methods: In-person interviews were conducted with 406 adolescents who were aged 17 years and were leaving foster care in a Midwestern state. Results: Of the 403 who had complete records, most (N=257, or 64%) did not report taking any psychotropic medications, while 46 (10%) were on three or more concurrent psychotropics. A history of physical or sexual abuse and a diagnosis of major depressive disorder or manic episode were significantly associated with the use of three or more concurrent medications. Between 19% and 41% of adolescents with diagnoses for which psychotropics are indicated were not taking any medications. Conclusions: This local cohort of adolescents aging out of foster care seemed to display both overuse and underuse of psychotropics. Research on larger and more representative cohorts of youths leaving foster care is necessary in order to understand the appropriateness of psychotropic prescribing among these adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1052-1055
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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