Evidence lacking on effectiveness of antipsychotics for children

Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382

A new research review from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds that there is little evidence that directly compares the effectiveness or safety of first- and second-generation antipsychotics among children, adolescents, and young adults. Mental health problems affect one in every five young people at any given time, and use of antipsychotics for children and adolescents has increased during the past 20 years.

The comprehensive synthesis of the evidence on the comparative effectiveness of antipsychotics for the treatment of various psychiatric and behavioral conditions found that for the majority of outcomes, data on the relative effectiveness of treatments were sparse and precluded drawing firm conclusions. First- and second-generation antipsychotics were generally found to be superior to placebo on symptom improvement and other efficacy outcomes. Future high-quality research examining head-to-head antipsychotic comparisons is needed in order to determine the relative effectiveness and safety among various antipsychotics in children, adolescents, and young adults. To that end, this research review is accompanied by a Future Research Needs paper intended to be used by researchers and funders of research to help improve the body of comparative effectiveness evidence that would be useful for decisionmakers.

This review, First- and Second-Generation Antipsychotics for Children and Young Adults, and many other evidence-based decisionmaking resources are available on AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site.

Current as of June 2012
Internet Citation: Evidence lacking on effectiveness of antipsychotics for children: Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382. June 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jun12/0612RA21.html