Psychotropic Polypharmacy and Antipsychotics in Children: A Survey of Caregiver's Perspectives

Community Ment Health J. 2022 Apr;58(3):512-516. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00845-2. Epub 2021 May 31.


Objective: We examined caregiver's knowledge, attitudes, and concerns about their child's psychotropic medication regimen and the potential side effects, describe how they seek information regarding treatment, and ascertain their perspectives toward deprescribing.

Methods: We surveyed 48 caregivers of children 6-17 years old treated with two or more psychotropic medications or an antipsychotic medication, analyzing outcomes using descriptive statistics.

Results: Almost all (N = 44, 92%) participants reported feeling very knowledgeable about why medications were prescribed, but only one-third (N = 16, 33%) reported feeling very knowledgeable about potential problems with long-term use or polypharmacy. Half of respondents (N = 24, 50%) reported asking their provider about reducing/stopping medications due to concerns about harmful effects, and nearly half (N = 20, 42%) reported stopping medications earlier than recommended.

Conclusions: Interventions to engage caregivers in shared decision-making about complex medication regimens and to support prescribers to safely deprescribe psychotropic medications are needed to address caregivers' concerns regarding psychotropic medication use.

Keywords: Children’s mental health; Deprescribing; Parent perspectives; Polypharmacy; Psychotropic medications; Side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Humans
  • Polypharmacy
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Psychotropic Drugs