The unapproved use of approved drugs, also called off-label use, with children is quite common. This is because pediatric dosage guidelines are typically unavailable, since very few drugs have been specifically researched and tested with children.
When treating children, prescribers often adjust dosages approved for adults to accommodate a child’s weight. However, children are not just “smaller” adults. Adults and children process and respond to drugs differently in their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.
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Children even respond differently during stages from infancy to adolescence. This poses potential safety concerns when prescribing drugs to pediatric patients. As an advanced practice nurse, you have to be aware of safety implications of the off-label use of drugs with this patient group.
Write a 1-page narrative in APA format that addresses the following:
The client is an 8-year-old African American male who arrives at the ER with his mother. He is exhibiting signs of depression.
MENTAL STATUS EXAM
Alert & oriented X 3, speech clear, coherent, goal directed, spontaneous. Self-reported mood is “sad”. Affect somewhat blunted, but child smiled appropriately at various points throughout the clinical interview. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No delusional or paranoid thought processes noted. Judgment and insight appear to be age-appropriate. He is not endorsing active suicidal ideation, but does admit that he often thinks about himself being dead and what it would be like to be dead.
You administer the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, obtaining a score of 30 (indicating significant depression)
§ Poznanski, E., & Mokros, H. (1996). Child Depression Rating Scale–Revised. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Decision Point One
Begin Zoloft 25 mg orally daily
RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE
Decision Point Two
RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO
Decision Point Three
Maintain current doseGuidance to Student
At this point, sufficient symptom reduction has been achieved. This is considered a “response” to therapy. Can continue with current dose for additional 4 week to see if any further reductions in depressive symptoms are noted. An increase in dose may be warranted since this is not “full” remission- Discuss pros/cons of increasing drug dose with client at this time and empower the client to be part of the decision. There is no indication that the drug therapy should be changed to an SNRI at this point as the client is clearly responding to this therapy.
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