Ethics and the Prescription Pad

Mary Lynn Dell, Brigette S. Vaughan, Christopher J. Kratochvil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article reviews the considerations that inform ethical psychotropic medication prescription processes at the clinical level with child and adolescent patients and their families or guardians. Physician attributes, cultural and religious factors, and the psychodynamic aspects of psychopharmacology are reviewed, in addition to the applications of basic ethical principles and concepts to the act of dispensing psychotropic medications. Attention is given to the processes of informed consent, assent, and challenges encountered to ethical prescribing for special populations such as children in foster care and juvenile justice systems. Ramifications of black box warnings and off label prescribing are discussed. Finally, the authors offer practical tips to guide clinicians in ethical psychopharmacologic management of their child and adolescent patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-111
Number of pages19
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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