Psychopharmacology in children and adolescents: unmet needs and opportunities

Samuele Cortese, Diane Purper-Ouakil, Alan Apter, Celso Arango, Inmaculada Baeza, Tobias Banaschewski, Jan Buitelaar, Josefina Castro-Fornieles, David Coghill, David Cohen, Christoph U. Correll, Edna Grünblatt, Pieter J. Hoekstra, Anthony James, Pia Jeppesen, Péter Nagy, Anne Katrine Pagsberg, Mara Parellada, Antonio M. Persico, Veit RoessnerParamala Santosh, Emily Simonoff, Dejan Stevanovic, Argyris Stringaris, Benedetto Vitiello, Susanne Walitza, Abraham Weizman, Ian C.K. Wong, Gil Zalsman, Alessandro Zuddas, Sara Carucci, Florence Butlen-Ducuing, Maria Tome, Myriam Bea, Christine Getin, Nina Hovén, Asa Konradsson-Geuken, Daphne Lamirell, Nigel Olisa, Begonya Nafria Escalera, Carmen Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Psychopharmacological treatment is an important component of the multimodal intervention approach to treating mental health conditions in children and adolescents. Currently, there are many unmet needs but also opportunities, alongside possible risks to consider, regarding the pharmacological treatment of mental health conditions in children and adolescents. In this Position Paper, we highlight and address these unmet needs and opportunities, including the perspectives of clinicians and researchers from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology–Child and Adolescent Network, alongside those of experts by lived experience from national and international associations, via a survey involving 644 participants from 13 countries, and of regulators, through representation from the European Medicines Agency. We present and discuss the evidence base for medications currently used for mental disorders in children and adolescents, medications in the pipeline, opportunities in the development of novel medications, crucial priorities for the conduct of future clinical studies, challenges and opportunities in terms of the regulatory and legislative framework, and innovations in the way research is conducted, reported, and promoted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


This paper is dedicated to the memory of our beloved colleague and friend Professor Alessandro Zuddas, who suddenly passed away in July, 2022. The authors are indebted to Valentina Mantua, of US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA, for invaluable suggestions on the manuscript. The authors acknowledge the contribution of the Psychiatry Expert Group and the Adolescent Expert Group of The Collaborative Network for European Clinical Trials for Children (conect4children; an action under the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Understanding []). The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the authors and may not be understood or quoted as being made on behalf of or reflecting the position of the European Medicines Agency or one of its Committees or working parties.

FundersFunder number
Psychiatry Expert Group
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
European Medicines Agency


    Dive into the research topics of 'Psychopharmacology in children and adolescents: unmet needs and opportunities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this