Pediatric oncology patients endure treatments that may include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and transplant. These treatment modalities often have an effect on a patient's mental health. To date, little is known or published about the association between certain cancer treatment regimens and the use of psychotropic medications. The goal of this study is to identify associations between the use of psychotropic medications in pediatric oncology patients in relation to the intensity of their oncologic treatment regimen.


A retrospective chart review was completed for pediatric oncology patients seen between the years of 2009 and 2019 with prescriptions and/or inpatient orders for specific psychotropic medications. The intensity of the oncologic regimen was categorized using the Intensity of Treatment Rating Scale (ITR-3) tool. Association between the intensity of therapy and use of psychotropic medications were compared using Pearson χ2 and Fisher exact tests as appropriate.


There were 172 patients identified as having inpatient and/or outpatient orders for psychotropic medications during the study period. Ninety-one pediatric oncology patients were included in data analysis. It was found that psychotropic medications were used consistently in pediatric oncology patients despite a specific ITR-3 score. There were no statistically significant associations found when comparing ITR-3 scores to psychotropic medication use or to age at diagnosis.


Significance was not obtained in this study; however, we found that psychotropic medications were used across the spectrum of diagnoses, age, and oncologic treatment intensity. This suggests that all pediatric oncology patients should be evaluated for psychiatric needs throughout their course of oncologic treatment.

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