Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


May 27th, 2015

 If you have been told that your child would benefit from taking medication there are some things you need to know. In my latest book, “When Kids Need Meds; Everything You Need to Know about Psychiatric Medication and Youngsters” I have prepared a 13-step guide that will help to alleviate some of your concerns and answer your questions about the medications. I am sharing the guidelines in a three blog series this week. This is the second blog in the series. Below is a link to the first blog. Please share the series with others who have concerns about medications prescribed for their children and teens and email me your questions and concerns.

(Read blog 1 for steps 1 – 4)

5. Make sure your child’s doctor, or a covering professional, is available twenty-four-hours-a-day, 365 days a year, for any concerns you have about your child. Anything less is unacceptable.

6. Understand why the great majority of psychotropic medications given to young people are off-label, which means they haven’t been specially approved for use by children. You will want to ask your prescribing psychiatrist what their particular experience is with the medication, as well as what studies have shown about the medications use in children and teenagers.

7. Find out from your doctor what time of the day and how to give your child the medication – with meals, all pills at one time, on a full or empty stomach? Although many pharmacies now include a written summary of various aspects of the drug, follow the prescriber’s recommendations over those of the pharmacy. Call the doctor if there is a difference.

8. Determine what the mediation will cost. Are there ways to cut the cost? Your pharmacist is the best source for that information. Cost should never force a decision.  Sometimes insurance companies make it difficult to get medication. Be persistent and get help from your psychiatrist to be sure your child gets exactly what the doctor ordered; generic or brand, the correct quantity, and refills, too.

9. Ask if there is a difference between generic and brand name drugs. I have not seen much of a difference between their effectiveness. Generic is usually okay. Some patients demand brand name medications, and I go along with it, but with the caveat that these will cost more money with little research showing a beneficial effect.

This is the second blog in a three-part series.
Link to Blog 1

As part of National Mental Health Awareness Month I am offering free copies of my book. Please email me if you’d like a copy.

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.

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