As can be discerned from this article, antipsychotics are commonly prescribed, and they are not used to treat only psychosis. Although some data support the use of typical antipsychotics in pediatric patients with a variety of psychiatric syndromes, concerns about the safety and tolerability of these agents often complicated their use and probably even interfered with case identification. A fundamentally new group of medications, the atypicals, have now become available and may not only have improved tolerability but also may have greater ability to reduce some target symptoms. Because of their superior side-effect profile in adults, some of these atypical treatments probably will be commonly prescribed despite a relative paucity of data about their use in the young. Moreover, although frequently prescribed in this age group, the overall prescription rate for antipsychotics will probably increase because of the putative improved safety profile of the newer agents. However, it is possible that serious side effects, such as tardive dyskinesia or neuroleptic malignant syndrome, may occur with these atypical agents. For this reason, the enthusiasm for prescribing these newer treatments should be tempered with the understanding that these agents, although they may in some ways be superior to their predecessors, still possess the potential for significant adverse events. Four atypical antipsychotics are currently marketed in the United States (see Table 2). One additional agent, ziprasodone, is undergoing clinical investigation. Ziprasodone has been shown to be superior to placebo in adults suffering from schizophrenia? Ziprasodone will probably be marketed in the United States in the near future. Whether all of these atypical drugs will have a place in the clinical armamentarium of the pediatric psychopharmacologist remains to be determined. Because the receptor binding profile of the atypical agents differ, it is not possible to assume that what is true for one of these agents is true for the others. Although results from most preliminary studies with atypical antipsychotics indicate that these are promising agents for pediatric patients, further research is needed to define just how these medications may be most judiciously used.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health