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The prescription of antipsychotic medication in children and adolescents (<18 years of age) has increased immensely for a wide range of disorders including psychoses, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, pervasive developmental disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This has led to some concerns particularly as the evidence base in some areas is not strong, and antipsychotic medication - both first generation (FGA) and second generation (SGA) - is associated with considerable side-effects. Evidence from an increasing number of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) points to therapeutic efficacy with moderate to large effect sizes. However, some RCTs have a small number of participants, are of short duration, and many are industry funded. The use of antipsychotics alongside psychosocial interventions can be recommended in certain disorders, provided there is continued, careful monitoring. It is important to note, however, that for many conditions the use of antipsychotics is not licensed in the UK.

Original publication




Journal article


Advances in Psychiatric Treatment

Publication Date





63 - 75