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Use of Atypical Neuroleptics in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59:644-656

Background: This article reviews the published clinical experience with atypical neuroleptics in children and adolescents.

Method: A computerized literature search was conducted (MEDLINE, 1974Ð1998) to retrieve all reports on the use of atypical neuroleptics in children and adolescents. A hand search was performed as well. All relevant clinical data were collated by type of drug.

Results: We found 5 blind placebo-controlled clinical trials (105 patients), 24 open-label clinical trials (387 patients), and 33 case series (115 patients) describing the use of the atypical neuroleptics clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, sulpiride, tiapride, amisulpride, remoxipride, and clothiapine in children and adolescents. Some of these agents, especially clozapine, risperidone, and olanzapine, were found to be efficacious in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders. The role of atypical neuroleptics as augmenters of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in obsessive-compulsive disorder is unclear. Risperidone appears to possess anti-tic properties in patients with Tourette's disorder.

Conclusion: The most convincing evidence of the efficacy of atypical neuroleptics in children and adolescents concerns clozapine in the treatment of schizophrenia. Data on other atypical neuroleptics in other disorders are still sparse, and further research is needed. Some of the atypical neuroleptics may become the first-line treatment for childhood schizophrenia and pervasive developmental disorders.