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Review: evidence on the comparative effectiveness and adverse effects of antipsychotics in young people is limited

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Question: What is the evidence on the comparative effectiveness and safety of the antipsychotics for children and young adults with psychiatric and behavioural conditions?

Outcomes: Efficacy outcomes (disorder specific and non-specific symptoms; health-related quality of life; legal involvement; medication adherence; patient, parent- or care provider-reported outcomes; suicide-related behaviour); adverse events (dyslipidaemia, extrapyramidal symptoms, insulin resistance, prolactin-related and sexual side effects, sedation, weight and body composition).


Design: Systematic review and meta analysis.

Data sources: MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, PsycINFO, IPA, CINAHL, Scopus, ProQuest Dissertations International, MedEffect Canada and TOXLINE, were searched from 1987 to February 2011. In addition, the authors hand searched clinical trial registers, reference lists of relevant reviews, proceedings from scientific meetings and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports and contacted drug manufacturers for published and unpublished study data.

Study selection and analysis: Controlled clinical trials (randomised and non-randomised) or cohort studies (prospective or retrospective) assessing FDA-approved antipsychotics in children and young people were included. Population: aged ≤24 years with one or more psychiatric and behavioural conditions (pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), disruptive behaviour disorder (DBD), bipolar disorder, …

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  • Sources of funding The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • ▸ References are available online at


  • Competing interests None.