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Antipsychotics for Pediatric Patients: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness, Safety, and Guidelines

Last updated: March 24, 2016
Project Number: RC0765-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What are the clinical benefits and harms of using antipsychotics in pediatric patients?
  2. What are the guidelines regarding the use of antipsychotics in pediatric patients?

Key Message

Overall, treatment with antipsychotics, whether typical or atypical, results in improvement in tic disorders, disruptive and aggressive behaviors, schizophrenia, and autism in pediatric patients but is associated with adverse effects. While the effectiveness of various antipsychotics appears comparable, side effect profiles appear to differ significantly among antipsychotics. Considering the balance between benefits and harms associated with various antipsychotics, some proposed the use of aripiprazole, clonidine, or risperidone over olanzapine and clozapine; however, these proposals were not necessarily based on high-quality evidence and should be considered with caution.