, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 1889-1896
Date: 08 May 2013

Trends, correlates, and disease patterns of antipsychotic use among children and adolescents in Taiwan

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We used Taiwan’s population-based National Health Insurance database to investigate the trends, correlates, and disease patterns of antipsychotic use among children and adolescents.


The National Health Research Institutes provided a database of 1,000,000 random subjects for study. We chose subjects who were aged 18 years or younger during 1997–2005. In this sample, subjects who were given at least one antipsychotic prescription, including first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) or second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs), were identified. Trends, prevalence, and associated factors of antipsychotic use were determined. The proportion of antipsychotic use for psychiatric and medical disorders was also analyzed.


The 1-year prevalence of SGA use increased from 0.00 % in 1997 to 0.09 % in 2005, whereas the 1-year prevalence of FGA use ranged from 2.24 to 3.43 % during this same period, with no significant change. Age and male gender were associated with higher SGA use. Among SGA users, the greatest proportion suffered from psychiatric disorders, including tics, hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood, schizophrenia, affective disorders, and autism. Among FGA users, a larger proportion was for medical conditions, including diseases of the digestive and respiratory systems.


The prevalence of pediatric SGA use increased greatly from 1997 to 2005. Among pediatric subjects using antipsychotics, SGAs were mostly used for psychiatric disorders, whereas FGAs were mostly prescribed for medical conditions. Future research will focus on indication, dosage, frequency, duration, adverse effects, and off-label use of antipsychotics in the pediatric population.