Feasibility and Relevance of Antipsychotic Safety Monitoring in Children With Tourette Syndrome: A Prospective Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

Purpose/Background

Antipsychotics are efficacious for tics and are increasingly prescribed to children with behavioral disorders. Antipsychotics have important adverse effects, and systematic monitoring of drug safety is infrequently performed. The objectives of this study were to determine the feasibility of antipsychotic safety monitoring in children with Tourette Syndrome using a defined protocol and to evaluate the risk of adverse effects with chronic use.

Methods/Procedures

A prospective longitudinal study of children prescribed antipsychotics was performed. Children were monitored for extrapyramidal, metabolic, and hormonal adverse effects using the Canadian Alliance for Monitoring Effectiveness and Safety of Antipsychotic Medications guidelines. This included the measurement of height, weight, waist circumference, the Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale, and laboratory tests of lipids, glucose, insulin, and prolactin at prespecified time points.

Findings/Results

Fifty-seven children who started on risperidone or aripiprazole were monitored for a mean of 10 months 3 days. Significant increases in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference percentiles occurred with time. There was a significant time by drug interaction, with children on aripiprazole having smaller changes in BMI initially, followed by a faster rate of increase than with risperidone. There was a significant difference between Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale scores on versus before starting antipsychotics and significant increases in insulin and prolactin. Change from a healthy to overweight or obese BMI percentile occurred in 26%. Extrapyramidal symptoms occurred in 35%. Medication was discontinued because of metabolic effects in 19%, and extrapyramidal symptoms in 7%.

Implications/Conclusions

Monitoring of antipsychotic safety in children is feasible and recommended to inform treatment decisions.

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