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Pharmacoepidemiology of psychotropic drugs: examples of current research challenges on major public health issues

  • Hélène Verdoux (a1), Marie Tournier (a1) and Bernard Bégaud (a1)


Background – As a large number of persons are exposed to prescribed psychotropic drugs, their utilisation and impact should be further explored at the population level. Aims – To illustrate the interest of pharmacoepidemiological studies of psychotropic drugs by selected examples of major public health issues. Method – Selective review of the literature. Results – Many questions remain unsolved regarding the behavioural teratogenicity of prenatal exposure to psychotropic drugs, the impact of their increasing use in children, the long-term cognitive consequences of exposure to benzodiazepines, and the risks associated with extension of indications of antipsychotic drugs. Conclusion – Pharmacoepidemiological studies need to be further developed owing to the large number of public health questions raised by the extensive and expanding use of psychotropic drugs.


Corresponding author

Professor H. Verdoux, Hôpital Charles Perrens, 121 rue de la Béchade, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex (France). Fax: +33-556-563546 E-mail:


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