A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found that new antipsychotic medications were not effective in treating child and adolescent schizophrenia. In fact the study says they may even cause side effects.
The Treatment of Early Onset Schizophrenia Study (TEOSS) involved 116 youth between 8 and 19 years old. All participants were diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia.
The patients were given olanzapine (Zyprexa) or risperidone (Risperdal) or older conventional antipsychotic molindone (Moban) plus benztropine on a random basis. After eight weeks it was found that 50% of the kids taking the older drugs improved, while 46 percent taking risperidone improved, and 34 percent taking olanzapine improved.
"Schizophrenia and schizophrenia-related disorders are rare in childhood. But when they do occur, those afflicted generally have more severe symptoms and a worse prognosis than those who develop the disorder in adulthood," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "The newer atypical antipsychotics are often used to treat these children, but until now, it has been unclear how effective and safe they really are in children. The side effects of the newer medications should be factored into making treatment decisions."
The details appear in the American Journal of Psychiatry.