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Neuroleptic-Related Dyskinesias in Children and Adolescents

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62:967-974

Background: Few studies have investigated the comparative risk of neuroleptic-related dyskinesias in children and adolescents receiving typical versus newer, atypical antipsychotics. This prospective study was completed to test whether clinical use of atypical antipsychotics is associated with less risk for developing neuroleptic-related dyskinesias than clinical use of typical neuroleptics in an unselected heterogeneous population of seriously emotionally disturbed youths admitted to acute residential treatment. We also tested a novel model of predictive risk for neuroleptic-related dyskinesias in children and adolescents.

Method: 102 children and adolescents receiving typical neuroleptics, atypical antipsychotics, or the combination were studied. Youths developing neuroleptic-related dyskinesias were compared with youths free of dyskinesias over a 3-month study period on demographic, diagnostic, and treatment variables. Logistic regression was utilized to develop a novel model of predictive risk.

Results: Of neuroleptic-treated youths, 5.9% had probable tardive dyskinesia, a rate less than the prevalence of tardive dyskinesia in chronic neuroleptic-treated adults. Use of typical neuroleptics was significantly (p = .03) associated with dyskinesia compared with use of atypical antipsychotics. Four variables including IQ, initial Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale score, type of antipsychotic, and cumulative number of risk factors accounted for 35.8% of the variance when predicting dyskinetic status.

Conclusion: Use of atypical antipsychotics appears to be associated with less dyskinesia risk than typical neuroleptics in an unselected group of seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. Results support a cumulative risk model of neuroleptic-related dyskinesia in youths.