Rationale: Research in pediatric psychopharmacology has expanded considerably in the last 10 years. Still, controversy remains about the effectiveness and safety of commonly used psychotropics and their role in child treatment, thus pointing to the need for more in-depth and targeted investigations. Objectives: To review recent accomplishments and current limitations of pediatric psychopharmacology, and discuss approaches to further research. Methods: Selective review of the relevant literature and research in progress. Results: Controlled clinical trials have been conducted in many common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, thus providing a basis on which evidence-based treatment guidelines can be constructed. Little innovation has, however, occurred in treatment development and testing. Safety concerns are prominent and have a major influence on clinical practice and drug utilization. Conclusions: While a research infrastructure has been successfully built for conducting pediatric clinical trials, important aspects such as long-term treatment effects, optimal sequencing and individualization of interventions, and integration of neuroscience findings into innovative, theory-driven treatment development remain to be addressed.
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