Juan Hincapie-Castillo, Pharm.D., a graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, received the Best Overall Presentation Award at the UF Department of Pediatrics’ 34th Annual Pediatrics Science Day on June 2. He competed against 15 other presenters in the oral competition and was the only College of Pharmacy speaker.
Hincapie-Castillo presented on recent research involving behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy strategies in treating psychiatric disorders in children. While guidelines recommend behavioral therapy before initiating or in combination with pharmacotherapy for the treatment of most psychiatric conditions, Hincapie-Castillo found that the prevalence of behavioral therapy remains low in Medicaid pediatric patients. He reviewed Medicaid data for 29 states from 1999 to 2010 and found that children receiving behavioral therapy prior to starting psychotropic polypharmacy ranged from 21 percent in 1999-2000 to 40 percent from 2005-07. The prevalence after polypharmacy initiation ranged from 25 percent in 1999-2000 to 44 percent in 2005-07. These findings suggest over-reliance on medication use and non-adherence to clinical guidelines. The use of behavioral therapy can play an important role in achieving desired outcomes, and their increased utilization may be one important strategy to counter increasing psychotropic polypharmacy trends.