Objective: To describe psychotropic medications prescription patterns among adolescents in Taiwan; focusing on age, gender, duration of treatments and various classes of psychotropic medications. Design: A retrospective description analysis. Setting: Taiwan National Health Insurance Database. Participants: Twelve to seventeen years' patients treated with psychotropic medications. Intervention: None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Percentage and duration of treatment with psychotropic medications during the study periods by medication classes and age groups were calculated. In addition, top three prescribed psychotropic medications were also determined. Results: A total of 3,120 patients were prescribed psychotropic drugs. The percentage of adolescent patients that received anxiolytics and antidepressants in 2002-2012 were 2.89% and 2.15%, respectively. Also, 851 patients (1.21%) were prescribed hypnotics and 638 (0.91%) were given sedatives. The prevalence rate of the prescription of psychotropic drugs increased steadily with age and females were more treated than males except antipsychotic. Among psychotropic drugs, antidepressants (mean: 8.6 times) were refilled more but antipsychotics (mean 188 days) were the long-term treatment drugs. Additionally, the trend of hospital visits fluctuated over the year while May and December showed a higher rate of visits. Conclusions: These findings show that the prevalence of psychotropic drug prescriptions in Taiwanese adolescents is even low but increasing trends in the prescription of these medications raises some concern. As the evidence of psychotropic drug safety and effectiveness in adolescents is still inadequate; we recommend that healthcare providers should consider psychotropic drugs therapy, continuously monitor for outcomes and empower their patients to improve their knowledge, therapeutic outcomes and quality of life.
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