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Debra Millikan

LAPS Study on Antipsychotic Use in Children Now Enrolling

The Long-term Antipsychotic Pediatric Safety (LAPS) study is currently enrolling. LAPS will follow children aged 3 to 17 who are taking an antipsychotic (risperidone or aripiprazole) to treat disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism. The study will assess both the long-term health risks and quality-of-life benefits of these two drugs.

“Antipsychotic treatment of children and adolescents has greatly increased over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Linmarie Sikich, principal investigator for the study and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine. “At the same time, new evidence suggests an association between antipsychotic use and weight gain. In addition, the incidence of long-term adverse effects such as involuntary movements and hormonal changes is unknown.”

These findings have led to a growing concern that the potential benefits of long-term antipsychotic use may not outweigh the risks, especially for children.

While several antipsychotics are FDA-approved in children these drugs can be prescribed without FDA approval for conditions such as attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depression. Antipsychotics are also frequently used to promote weight gain and reduce anxiety in children and teens with eating disorders.

Is your child taking Risperdal® (also called risperidone) or Abilify® (also called aripiprazole)? If so, the LAPS study may be a good fit for your child.