Neurotransmitters are present at very early stages of brain development. They may have trophic effects on maturation of target neurons and mediate the behavioral repertoire of the immature brain. Many centrally acting drugs which are used during pregnancy and early childhood for the treatment of e.g. hypertension, depression, epilepsy,sleep disorders, or hyperkinetism influence brain neurotransmitters and behavioral states. Disturbances observed later in life in animal and man, due to perinatal interference of such drugs with brain neurotransmitters and behavioral states, are not gross physical malformations but rather subtle behavioral and neurological symptoms such as hyperactivity,emotional lability, perceptual motor disturbances, attentional distractibility and sleep disturbances.

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