Psychopharmacology for the Primary Care Provider

Online Course
March 10, 2009 - August 31, 2011

Course Description

Pediatricians and other primary care providers face the challenge of working with children who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, depression, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Often, a referral of these patients to child psychiatry is not feasible or available. While most providers feel comfortable with treating ADHD itself, many feel uncomfortable dealing with other psychiatric disorders. This program is designed to give primary care providers the tools to expand their diagnostic acumen for affective, anxiety and psychiatric symptoms of ASD. It will focus on how to recognize those psychiatric disorders which can be treated in the primary care office, as well as when to refer more severe cases to child psychiatry. It provides the information on the benefits, risks, and dosing of the major psychopharmacological agents used in child psychiatry such as stimulants, antidepressants, and second generation antipsychotics (SGA). The ultimate goal of the project is to give the learner a ready toolkit for dealing with the wide range of psychiatric problems that can present to primary care.

Target Audience

Pediatricians, Nurse Practitioners, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Other Primary Care Providers

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize comormid disorders of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), aggression, depression and anxiety in children with ADHD and recognize those which can be treated in the primary care setting.
  • Differentiate major depressive disorder (MDD) from adjustment disorders and determine when it is appropriate to use antidepressant medication in children and adolescents.
  • Develop expertise in the use of stimulants, atomoxetine and alpha agonists for treating ADHD and its comormid disorders.
  • Develop expertise in the use of antidepressants and second generation antipsychotics in the treatment of depression and autism spectrum disorders in children and adolescents.

Physician Participation

To obtain Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credit participants must:

  • View the presentation (this activity is composed of four 1-hour presentations)
  • Complete and submit the post-test (minumum passing score is 70%)
  • Complete and submit the presentation evaluation

A CME or LPC certificate will be sent to participants who complete the post-test with a passing score of 70% or higher within 30 days of submission.

Hardware/Software Requirements

- 350MHz Intel Pentium II processor or equivalent
- 64MB of RAM(128MB on Windows XP or later)
- 52MB available disk space
- 28.8Kbps modem (audio only)
- 16-bit sound card and speakers
- 65,000-color video display card set to display at 800x600 (video)
- Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6 or later(playback only), Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows XP
- IE 5.0 or later

You will also need one of the following to view the presentation. Please click on the appropriate link to download the program if you do not have them installed.

Release Date

March 10, 2009

Termination Date

August 31, 2011


Steven Pliska, MD

Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He also serves as Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He conducts research in neurobiology and psychopharmacology of ADHD. He serves as the psychiatric consultant to two residential facilities for severely mentally ill youth and teaches neuroscience and psychopharmacology to medical students and residents.

Dr Pliska has disclosed he is involved in a scientific study/trial with Ortho-McNeil Janssen; on Speakers bureau, and a consultant for Shire, McNeil Pediatrics; and has received research grants from Eli Lily, Astra-Zeneca, and Shire.

Course Registration Information

No Charge

Continuing Education Credit


The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine is approved by the Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors as a continuing education provider of Licensed Professional Counselor credit.

Contact Information

For questions concerning educational content contact Monica Trevino, Project Coordinator.

For questions concerning a CME credit contact Marissa Howard, Accreditation Manager.

For technical assistance contact Joe Cepeda, Web & Information Management Specialist.

Presentation Title
Diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and its comorbidities - Part I
Pharmacological Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and its comorbidities - Part II
Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression in Children and Adolescents - Part III
Pharmacological Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders for the PCP - Part IV