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    Hillary Clinton Calls for More Attention to Treating Kids With Behavioral Disorders

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    In terms of school-age children, "There are clearly some areas where it is being overprescribed and underprescribed," adds Martin Stein, MD, who is a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. Developing and discussing new guidelines hopefully will help identify and correct some of those problems, he tells WebMD.

    These practice guidelines will be developed from existing literature. But the real key to determine appropriateness may have to wait for the FDA. The agency's efforts to develop pediatric labeling information will play a critical role in ensuring the appropriate use of these medications, Clinton said.

    The FDA recently was given the power to require pediatric clinical studies for over 400 medications, including psychotropic drugs, says Dianne Murphy, MD, the FDA's associate director for pediatrics. She tells WebMD that these studies are important because they will help outline efficacy and safety issues, as well as identify the appropriate dosages for when medications are necessary.

    While conducting these studies may take some time, the FDA has made significant progress, she adds. Thanks to a provision that makes it more attractive for drugmakers to voluntarily initiate pediatric studies, the FDA already has received 170 proposals and relabeled six products, she says.

    The importance of the NIMH study is that it will help answer some of the ethical issues, she says, adding that in terms of Clinton's initiative, "I'm sure that the attention it brings to [the use of psychotropic drugs in children] will help facilitate a timely review."

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