Psychotropic prescribing patterns among adolescents in Northern Ireland presenting with psychotic symptoms during a 5-year period

G. Woods, C. Shannon, G. Davidson, K. Hoy, D. Lewis, L. Tumelty, C. Mulholland

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Abstract

Objective: To report new prescriptions of psychotropic medications among adolescents presenting with new onset psychotic symptoms during a 5-year period.
Methods: The Northern Ireland Early Onset Psychosis Study is a naturalistic longitudinal observational study of patients with an early onset first psychotic episode. All patients aged <18 years presenting to specialist mental health services across Northern Ireland with new onset psychotic symptoms between 2001 and 2006 were recruited (n = 113). Clinical case notes were analysed retrospectively for details of subsequent treatment with psychotropic medications.
Results: A total of 100 patients (88.5%) were prescribed some form of psychotropic medication. Over three-quarters of patients received an antipsychotic as their first medication. Risperidone (45.8%), olanzapine (24.0%) and chlorpromazine (12.5%) were the most commonly prescribed first-line antipsychotic medications. Of a total of 160 antipsychotic prescriptions,81 (50.6%) were off-label. Prescriptions were most likely to have been deemed off-label owing to medications not being licensed in under-18s (71.6% of off-label prescriptions) but other reasons were medications being used outsidelicensed age ranges (23.5%) and outside licensed indications (4.9%).
Conclusions: This is the first study examining psychotropic prescribing patterns in a complete sample of all children and adolescents presenting with early onset psychotic episodes in a single geographical area. The observation of risperidoneas the most commonly prescribed antipsychotic was in keeping with previous studies in child and adolescent populations. Rates of off-label prescribing were lower than previously observed although our study was the first to investigateoff-label prescribing solely in children and adolescents presenting with psychotic symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
JournalIrish Journal of Psychological Medicine
Volume33
Issue number1
Early online date10 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Adolescents, antipsychotics, children, off-label, psychosis, psychotropics

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