Psychotropic Medication After Intensive Care Unit–Treated Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Era D. Mikkonen, Markus B. Skrifvars, Matti Reinikainen, Stepani Bendel, Ruut Laitio, Sanna Hoppu, Tero Ala-Kokko, Atte Karppinen, Rahul Raj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Our aim was to assess the occurrence and risk factors for psychotropic medication use after pediatric traumatic brain injury treated in the intensive care unit. Methods: We combined data from the Finnish Intensive Care Consortium database, data on reimbursed medications from the Social Insurance Institute, and individual electronic health care data. We analyzed data on children aged five to 17 years treated for traumatic brain injury in intensive care units of four university hospitals in Finland during 2003 to 2013 and being alive six months after injury with no history of psychotropic medication use before traumatic brain injury. Results: We identified 248 patients of whom 46 (19%) were prescribed a new psychotropic medication after traumatic brain injury. In multivariable logistic regression, a higher age associated with a higher probability for use of any psychotropic medication. Subgroup analyses showed that higher age associated with an increased risk of antidepressant and antipsychotic use but with a decreased risk of stimulant use. Apart from age, we found no other clinical, radiological, or treatment-related factors that significantly associated with subsequent use of psychotropics. Psychotropic medication was most common (45%) in children aged 12 to 17 years and had moderate disability at six-month follow-up. Conclusions: One fifth of children treated in the intensive care unit for traumatic brain injury were prescribed a new psychotropic medication during a median follow-up of three years and five months. Psychotropic medication was most common among teenagers with moderate post-traumatic disability. The need and use of psychotropics postinjury seem multifactorial and not related to any traumatic brain injury type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Intensive care units
  • Population at risk
  • Psychoactive agents
  • Traumatic brain injury

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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