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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2002 Oct;22(5):455-60.

Open-label study of olanzapine in children with pervasive developmental disorder.

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  • 1University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The Netherlands.


The effects of olanzapine on the symptomatology of children with pervasive developmental disorder with emphasis on problems of communication and the safety of the drug were investigated in a 3-month open-label, open-dosage study. Participating in the study were 25 children age 6 to 16 years with a diagnosis of either autistic disorder or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Psychometric measures included the Clinical Global Impression of Severity/Improvement, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist, and the TARGET (a checklist of five target symptoms). Communication skills were assessed during behavioral analysis of a playroom session. Safety measures included clinical chemistry variables, electrocardiography, the SimpsonAngus Neurological Rating Scale, the Barnes Akathisia Scale, and vital signs. Twenty-three children completed the study and showed significant improvement on three subscales of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (Irritability, Hyperactivity, and Excessive Speech) and the TARGET. The final mean dose was 10.7 mg/day. Several aspects of communication were also improved after olanzapine treatment. However, only three children were considered responders in terms of the Clinical Global Impression of Severity/Improvement scores. The most important adverse events were weight gain, increased appetite, and loss of strength. Three children showed extrapyramidal symptoms that disappeared after the dose was lowered. Thus, while olanzapine was a relatively safe medication in children, its clinical relevance in children with pervasive developmental disorder may be limited.

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