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Antipsychotics in child and adolescent patients with major depressive disorder: A retrospective analysis of prescribing patterns.

INTRODUCTION: Depression rates in children/adolescents in the United States have increased in the last 10 years. Fluoxetine and escitalopram are the only 2 antidepressants approved for the treatment of major depression disorder (MDD) in children/adolescents. In adults, some antipsychotics are approved for augmented treatment of MDD. However, there is limited research on antipsychotic augmentation in child/adolescent MDD.

METHODS: This retrospective chart review evaluated antipsychotic prescribing for MDD in hospitalized patients aged 4 to 17 years to determine the frequency of prescribing antipsychotics for MDD and what factors influence the addition of an antipsychotic. For inclusion, patients were diagnosed with MDD and not on an antidepressant or antipsychotic before admission. Binomial logistic regression was used to analyze variables with prescribed antipsychotics as the dependent variable.

RESULTS: There were 6.8% of patients prescribed an antipsychotic. Binomial logistic regression analysis found that increased age (odds ratio [OR] 1.28; 95% CI = 1.045, 1.568; P = .017) and multiple admissions within 1 year (OR 3.277; 95% CI = 2.283, 4.705; P < .001) were associated with the use of antipsychotics in patients with MDD. Posttraumatic stress disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder were also associated with the use of antipsychotics.

DISCUSSION: Careful consideration should be taken when using off-label antipsychotics in children due to limited studies on efficacy. Future research is warranted to assess the efficacy and safety of these agents in children and adolescents.

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