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Understanding and treating psychosis in young people

Date created
Author: Schwartz, C.
Author: Waddell, C.
Author: Barican, J.
Author: Garland, O.
Background: Medications are a key treatment for young people with psychosis. In fact, up to 80% of individuals will experience a remission of psychotic symptoms within their first year of treatment with antipsychotic medication. Given the array of antipsychotics available, we set to determine which of these medications provide the best outcomes for youth considering both effectiveness and side effect profiles. Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluations of interventions for psychosis. Applying our inclusion criteria, we accepted seven RCTs evaluating 6 medications.Results: The medications clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine and risperidone proved successful in treating psychosis in young people. However, due to clozapine’s side effect profile, it is typically reserved for youth who have not responded to at least two other antipsychotics. When price is a consideration, older antipsychotic have the benefit of costing less while having similar effectiveness to newer medications. Conclusions: With careful management, antipsychotic medications can dramatically improve functioning and reduce suffering for youth with psychosis.
Published as
Schwartz, C., Waddell, C., Barican, J., Garland, O., Nightingale, L., & Gray-Grant,D. (2009). Understanding and treating psychosis in young people. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 3(3), 1–24. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.
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Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly
Document title
Understanding and treating psychosis in young people
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