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Atypical Antipsychotics in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents: Clinical Applications

J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(suppl 6):30-44

Atypical antipsychotics offer superior safety and similar efficacy compared with conventional agents in adults with psychotic disorders. Consequently, atypical antipsychotics have been increasingly used in children and adolescents. Because most information now available on pediatric use comes from case reports and small open-label studies rather than large controlled trials, treatment in pediatric patients is often guided by experience with adults or based on limited evidence in youths. Although the literature contains reports on the use of each agent in this class in children, risperidone has been the focus of the greatest number of reports. However, the atypical antipsychotics are not interchangeable; each has a unique pharmacologic profile and may differ considerably in terms of adverse effects. Evidence on the use of atypical antipsychotics in children and adolescents is summarized in this review.