Assessing and treating pediatric clients with mood disorders | NURS 6630 – Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychopathology | Walden University
Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes are important in pediatric clients requiring antidepressant therapy due to the unique physiological characteristics of children, as well as their often varying clinical presentations. Factors that influence these processes include age, weight, body composition, metabolic rate, developmental stage, concomitant medications, absorption rates through gastrointestinal tract or transdermal membranes (if applicable), and drug excretion rates.
Age is an especially important factor in understanding how a medication will be processed by a pediatric patient’s body. Due to the slower maturation of organs such as the liver and kidneys in younger patients compared to adults, drug metabolism can be prolonged leading to prolonged elimination times which may affect efficacy and safety of certain drugs. Additionally due to limited body mass smaller doses may be required for similar levels of therapeutic effect in comparison with adult dosing.
The developmental stage should also be taken into consideration when prescribing psychotropic medications for pediatric populations as different stages elicit different responses based on changes taking place within the brain itself. For example adolescents experience greater plasma concentrations than children due largely to increased adrenal activity during this period which affects amount needed for effective therapeutic results(1).
Finally other factors such as concurrent medical conditions need to be taken into account when prescribing antidepressant therapies including any current treatments being administered which could interact with the newly prescribed agent affecting its effectiveness or cause adverse effects if metabolized too quickly or slowly(2). Ultimately all these factors must be considered when determining a safe and effective treatment plan tailored specifically for each individual pediatric client undergoing antidepressant therapy.
(1) Wong ICK et al., Psychopharmacology: The Fourth Generation Of Progress 2002; 1275-1303 (2) Prescribing antidepressants safely in children & young people 2020.