A comparative pilot study of second-generation antipsychotics in children and adolescents with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders

Jonathan B. Jensen, Sanjiv Kumra, Willa Leitten, Joel Oberstar, Afshan Anjum, Tonya White, Jeffrey Wozniak, Susanne S. Lee, S. Charles Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: There is a limited evidence base to guide treatment of children and adolescents with nonaffective psychoses because few comparative studies of first-line second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) have been undertaken. To plan the design of a subsequent randomized controlled trial (RCT), the authors conducted this pilot study to demonstrate the feasibility of the treatment and measurement protocols. Method: Thirty children and adolescents (20 males, 10 females), ages 10-18 years, who met unmodified Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria for a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder (schizophrenia, schizoaffective, schizophreniform, psychotic disorder not otherwise specified) were randomized to receive 12 weeks of open-label, flexibly dosed treatment with either risperidone (mean [standard deviation, SD] dose = 3.4 mg [1.5]), olanzapine (mean [SD] dose = 14.0 mg [4.6]) or quetiapine (mean [SD] dose = 611 mg [253.4]). Results: Twenty one (70%) of 30 subjects completed the study. There was no overall statistically significant difference with regard to reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total scores in treatment efficacy observed (F(2,24) = 3.13, p = 0.06). However, the possibility of a large differential treatment effect with regard to change in PANSS total scores favoring risperidone relative to quetiapine (risperidone vs. quetiapine, d = 1.10 [95% confidence interval, CI, 0.09-2.01]) was suggested by the point estimate. Conclusions: These preliminary data, viewed together with the extant literature, suggest that a future larger RCT with only two treatment arms may be warranted to establish whether there is a clinically significant differential treatment effect between risperidone and quetiapine for children and adolescents with nonaffective psychoses. Additional challenges and considerations for mounting a larger RCT are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


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