Objectives: The use of antipsychotic drugs by youth is associated with serious side effects, especially when prescribed in higher dosages and for a longer period. Despite this, little is known about recent trends in the dosages and duration of use of antipsychotic drugs in children and adolescents. The aim of this study was to describe trends in prevalence, incidence, dosages, duration of use, and preceding psychotropic medication in Dutch youth who had been prescribed antipsychotic drugs from 2005 to 2015.
Methods: We analyzed 84,828 antipsychotic prescriptions of youths aged 0-19 years between 2005 and 2015, derived from a large Dutch community pharmacy-based prescription database (IADB.nl).
Results: Since a peak of 9.8 users per 1000 youths in 2009, prevalence rates stabilized. Dosages in milligram per kilogram declined for the most frequently prescribed antipsychotic drugs during the study period. The median duration of use was 6.0 (95% CI 5.4-6.6) months. Boys used antipsychotic drugs significantly longer than girls, with a median of 6.9 (95% CI 6.1-7.7) versus 4.6 (95% CI 3.9-5.3) months (p < 0.01). Of the youths prescribed antipsychotics, 12.4% used them for at least 48 months. The majority of youths had used other psychotropic agents in the year before the start of an antipsychotic drug (62.4% in 2005 and 64.7% in 2015).
Conclusions: Despite a stabilization of usage rates and decline in dosages and duration of use, one in eight youths still used antipsychotic drugs for 4 years or longer. A substantial share of youths may, therefore, be at high risk for serious side effects.

Additional Metadata
Keywords antipsychotics, dosages, duration of use, incidence, prevalence, psychopharmacoepidemiology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1089/cap.2017.0155, hdl.handle.net/1765/105860
Journal Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Kloosterboer, S.M, Schuiling-Veninga, C.C.M. (Catharina C.M.), Bos, J, Kalverdijk, L.J. (Luuk), Koch, B.C.P, Dieleman, G.C, … Dierckx, B. (2018). Antipsychotics in Dutch youth: Prevalence, dosages, and duration of use from 2005 to 2015. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 28(3), 173–179. doi:10.1089/cap.2017.0155