A Preliminary Case Series on the Use of Quetiapine for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Juveniles Within a Youth Detention Center

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Juveniles within the youth justice system have high rates of psychiatric morbidity, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This case series describes 6 young people aged 15 to 17 years within a youth detention center who met the criteria for PTSD and reported an improvement in symptoms after 6 weeks of treatment with low-dose quetiapine. The primary outcome measure used was the Traumatic Symptom Checklist in Children. The dose of quetiapine ranged from 50 to 200 mg/d; T scores for PTSD symptoms decreased from 75 (SD, ±5.2; range, 68-82) to 54 (SD, ±7.4; range, 43-62) (P < 0.01). Significant improvements in symptoms of dissociation (P < 0.01), anxiety (P < 0.01), depression (P < 0.01), and anger (P < 0.05) were also noted over the 6-week evaluation period. Low-dose quetiapine was tolerated well, with no persisting side effects or adverse events. Nighttime sedation was reported, although this was viewed as beneficial. All young people opted to continue with treatment after the assessment period. This preliminary case series suggests that juveniles in detention who have PTSD may benefit from treatment with quetiapine. Caution is needed in interpreting these findings. Both larger open-label and blinded trials are warranted to define the use of quetiapine in the treatment of PTSD in the adolescent forensic population.

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