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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2004 Jan;29(1):133-45.

A pilot study of risperidone, olanzapine, and haloperidol in psychotic youth: a double-blind, randomized, 8-week trial.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160, USA.


This pilot study was undertaken to estimate the acute antipsychotic effect size and side effect propensity of risperidone and olanzapine in the pediatric population, in comparison to haloperidol, a conventional antipsychotic with established efficacy. Risperidone and olanzapine are widely used as first-line treatments to ameliorate psychotic symptoms in youth, but their abilities to specifically treat children and adolescents presenting due to psychotic symptoms have not been rigorously studied. Subjects, selected because of prominent positive psychotic symptoms, were randomly assigned to double-blind, parallel treatment with risperidone, olanzapine, or haloperidol for 8 weeks. The primary outcome was reduction in the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children total score from baseline to termination. An exploratory, descriptive analysis was done to compare the three treatments. A total of 50 patients, 8-19 years, participated. All treatments reduced symptoms significantly with p-values (corrected for multiple comparisons) of 0.0018 for each of the atypical agents and 0.012 for haloperidol. In all, 88% of subjects treated with olanzapine, 74% treated with risperidone, and 53% treated with haloperidol met response criteria. The primary side effects observed in all patients were mild to moderate sedation, extrapyramidal symptoms, and weight gain. Risperidone and olanzapine acutely reduced psychotic symptoms in this pediatric sample. Exploratory comparisons indicate the magnitude of the antipsychotic response with these atypical agents is comparable to that observed with haloperidol. However, youth treated with risperidone and olanzapine experienced weight gain and extrapyramidal effects that appear more prevalent and severe than reported in adults.

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