State Revises Foster Care Drug Rules

With help from TMA and the psychiatric, pediatric, and family practice specialty societies, the state updated parameters for use of psychotropic drugs for foster children [PDF]. TMA and the societies helped develop the original parameters and also provided input on the latest version.

The new parameters include updated references and medications introduced since the last revision, as well as more detailed information about indications for usage, warnings, and precautions; age-specific dosage ranges; and metabolic monitoring where indicated. They are resources for physicians and clinicians who care for foster children diagnosed with mental health disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, disruptive behavioral disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder.

TMA, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, the Federation of Texas Psychiatry, the Texas Pediatric Society, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians developed the guidelines in 2005 after complaints that some clinicians relied too much on psychotropic medications to treat children in foster care. They were updated in 2007 and again this year.

"The goal then, as it is now, was to support the safe, effective, and appropriate administration of these psychotropic medications," DFPS says in a letter to the foster care network. The letter adds that the parameters "resulted in a significant decrease in utilization of psychotropic medications among foster children in Texas, and the guidelines have been influential in the development of several other states' monitoring efforts."


Action, Jan. 4, 2010


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