The researchers used data from the US National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) from 1994 to 2001 to determine how many physician encounters by adolescents 14 to 18 years old resulted in the prescription of a psychotropic medication. The NAMCS data are collected annually from a random selection of 3000 primary-care and specialty outpatient settings, and include such information as medication class, physician specialty, and diagnosis. Because of small numbers of certain prescription types, the analysis included 3 medication classes: antidepressants, stimulants, and "other," which included antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and mood stabilizers. For analysis, the researchers examined trends during 4 periods of 2 years each.
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