Current Psychiatry Reports

, 15:426 | Cite as

Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Pediatric Populations: What do the Data Say?

  • Robert B. Penfold
  • Christine Stewart
  • Enid M. Hunkeler
  • Jeanne M. Madden
  • Janet R. Cummings
  • Ashli A. Owen-Smith
  • Rebecca C. Rossom
  • Christine Y. Lu
  • Frances L. Lynch
  • Beth E. Waitzfelder
  • Karen A. Coleman
  • Brian K. Ahmedani
  • Arne L. Beck
  • John E. Zeber
  • Gregory E. Simon
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders (SJ Siegel, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders


Recent reports of antipsychotic medication use in pediatric populations describe large increases in rates of use. Much interest in the increasing use has focused on potentially inappropriate prescribing for non-Food and Drug Administration-approved uses and use amongst youth with no mental health diagnosis. Different studies of antipsychotic use have used different time periods, geographic and insurance populations of youth, and aggregations of diagnoses. We review recent estimates of use and comment on the similarities and dissimilarities in rates of use. We also report new data obtained on 11 health maintenance organizations that are members of the Mental Health Research Network in order to update and extend the knowledge base on use by diagnostic indication. Results indicate that most use in pediatric populations is for disruptive behaviors and not psychotic disorders. Differences in estimates are likely a function of differences in methodology; however, there is remarkable consistency in estimates of use by diagnosis.


Antipsychotics Children Adolescents Medicaid Mental Health Research Network Off-label MarketScan IMS Health NAMCS NDTI NCS-A 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (grant: U19MH092201). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Christine Stewart, Enid M. Hunkeler, Jeanne M. Madden, Rebecca C. Rossom, Christine Y. Lu, Frances L. Lynch, Beth E. Waitzfelder, Karen A. Coleman, and Gregory E. Simon have received research support from NIMH. John E. Zeber has received research support and support for travel from National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Robert B. Penfold has received research support from Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and NIMH.

Christine Stewart has received funding through NIMH.

Enid M. Hunkeler has patent applications pending for an individualized health care management system and a computer-implemented method for assisting a care partner in monitoring a patient with a chronic disease and has received funding through NIMH.

Jeanne M. Madden has received research support from NIH, FDA, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and NIMH.

Janet R. Cummings has received funding through NIMH.

Ashli A. Owen-Smith has received funding through NIMH.

Rebecca C. Rossom has received funding through NIMH.

Christine Y. Lu has received funding through NIMH.

Frances L. Lynch has received funding through NIMH.

Beth E. Waitzfelder has received funding through NIMH.

Karen A. Coleman has received research support from NIMH, NIH, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Brian K. Ahmedani has received research support from NIMH.

Arne L. Beck and has received funding through NIMH.

John E. Zeber has received research support from VA Health Services Research & Development, the Commonwealth Fund, NIH and NIMH.

Gregory E. Simon has received research support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and NIMH.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Penfold
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christine Stewart
    • 1
  • Enid M. Hunkeler
    • 3
  • Jeanne M. Madden
    • 4
    • 5
  • Janet R. Cummings
    • 6
  • Ashli A. Owen-Smith
    • 7
  • Rebecca C. Rossom
    • 8
    • 9
  • Christine Y. Lu
    • 4
    • 5
  • Frances L. Lynch
    • 10
  • Beth E. Waitzfelder
    • 11
  • Karen A. Coleman
    • 12
  • Brian K. Ahmedani
    • 13
  • Arne L. Beck
    • 14
  • John E. Zeber
    • 15
  • Gregory E. Simon
    • 1
    • 16
  1. 1.Group Health Research InstituteSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Services ResearchUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Northern CaliforniaOaklandUSA
  4. 4.Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Research InstituteBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Population MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  7. 7.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research SoutheastAtlantaUSA
  8. 8.Health Partners Institute for Education and ResearchBloomingtonUSA
  9. 9.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  10. 10.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, NorthwestPortlandUSA
  11. 11.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  12. 12.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Southern CaliforniaPasadenaUSA
  13. 13.Henry Ford Health SystemDetroitUSA
  14. 14.Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research, ColoradoDenverUSA
  15. 15.Center for Applied Health Research, Scott and White Healthcare and Central Texas VATempleUSA
  16. 16.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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