Instructions for Using Handouts

This book provides essential information about all the major classes of psychiatric medications as well as more detailed information about specific medications. When prescribing a medication for one of your patients, you may wish to print out both general information about the class of medication and more detailed information about the specific agent. For instance, if you are prescribing Zoloft, you'll find separate handouts with a general discussion of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and more specific information on Zoloft.

Each medication is presented in a standard format. The various sections and a brief discussion of each are as follows:

Brand Name: The trade name the manufacturer has given the medication for marketing to the consumer
Generic Name: The chemical or pharmaceutical name of the medication
Available Strengths: The dosages and available formulations
Available in Generic: Whether the medication is available in a generic form
Drug Class: The classification of the medication (e.g., tricyclic antidepressant), applicable to a group of medications similar in chemical formulation, mode of action, or general uses
General Information: An overview of the medication, including how it works, why it was developed, and its general advantages and disadvantages
Dosing Information: Concise information about how the medication is prescribed, including dosage forms and strengths, when it should be taken, and how doses should be increased
Common Side Effects: The most common side effects noted during clinical trials and in clinical practice (Because additional side effects may occur, patients should be instructed to report these to their physicians.)
Adverse Reactions and Precautions: Cautionary advice concerning the medication itself and other medications to be avoided
Use in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Whether the medication should be taken by women who are or may become pregnant and women who are breastfeeding, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) categorization of the drug (A, B, C, D, or X)
Psychotropic medications are almost never systematically studied in pregnant women; potential effects on humans are usually drawn from research conducted in mice or other animals. Category A means that controlled studies show no risk to humans. Most psychotropic medications have been classified by the FDA as Category B, meaning no evidence of risk in humans has been found but that adequate human studies have not been performed, or as Category C, meaning that risk to humans cannot be ruled out. Category D drugs have proven risk to humans, but the risk of potential harm to the fetus may be outweighed by the potential benefit to the mother. Category X medications should not be used during pregnancy because of positive evidence of fetal abnormalities.
Possible Drug Interactions: Other medications that may be of concern or that should be avoided altogether when taking the medication in question
Overdose: General information concerning the signs and symptoms of overdose and what to do if someone takes too much of the prescribed medication
Special Considerations: Special considerations to be aware of with the medication in question, including concise review of the medication discussed and a summary of its unique advantages and disadvantages; warnings; and general advice concerning what to do if a dose is missed, whether the tablet or capsule may be cut or crushed, whether the medication should be taken with food, and how to store the medications
Notes: Space provided for the patient to write down 1) side effects that the patient may have experienced so he or she can discuss them with the physician at the next visit and 2) questions the patient or a family member may have about the medication, such as dosing, side effects, or potential drug interactions with existing medications

Web Sites

There are several helpful Web sites for physicians and patients. The following may be especially helpful:

Internet Mental Health (www.mentalhealth.com): An excellent forum for diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders
Drug Information Online (www.drugs.com): Prescription drug information (also in Spanish) for consumers and professionals
U.S. Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus): Health information for consumers

Recommended Reading

Listed below are several books with more detailed information about the medications contained in this book.

  1. Dulcan MK: Helping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional Problems: A Resource Book of Medication Information Handouts, 3rd Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007
  2. Findling RL (ed): Clinical Manual of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2008
  3. Hales RE, Shahrokh NC, Schatzberg AF, Nemeroff CB: Study Guide to Psychopharmacology: A Companion to The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2009
  4. Jacobson SA, Pies RW, Katz IR: Clinical Manual of Geriatric Psychopharmacology. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007
  5. Kranzler HR, Ciraulo DA (eds): Clinical Manual of Addiction Psychopharmacology. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2005
  6. Marangell LB, Martinez JM, Silver JM, Yudofsky SC: Concise Guide to Psychopharmacology, 2nd Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006
  7. Pies RW: Handbook of Essential Psychopharmacology, 2nd Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2005
  8. Schatzberg AF, Cole JO, DeBattista C: Manual of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 6th Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007
  9. Schatzberg AF, Nemeroff CB: The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2009
  10. Wynn GH, Oesterheld JR, Cozza KL, Armstrong SC: Clinical Manual of Drug Interaction Principles for Medical Practice. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2008