Antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs are used in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. There is a lack of information about the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics in young people. Much of the information available is extrapolated from adult studies; in particular, little is known about the long-term effects of these drugs on the development of the central nervous system. Over the last two decades, typical antipsychotics have largely been replaced by atypical antipsychotics. With this increase in use of atypical antipsychotic drugs, there has been growing concern about the appropriate use of these drugs and the fact that they appear to be associated with metabolic abnormalities such as weight gain, diabetes and related cardiovascular effects. This paper provides a review of current practice and evidence based use of antipsychotic drugs in children.
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Competing interests ICKW is currently receiving funding from the EU Commission to investigate the safety of risperidone in children. ICKW has received research funding from the National Institute of Health Research in England to investigate the safety of psychotropic drugs in children. ICKW has also received honorarium and consultancy fees from various pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen-Cilag and Bristol-Myers Squibb (manufacturers of antipsychotic medicines). NBA is supported by a scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to investigate the safety of antipsychotic drug use in children.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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