To determine the comparative efficacy and safety of antipsychotics for youth with early-onset schizophrenia using network meta-analytic methods combining direct and indirect trial data.
The authors systematically searched MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, and clinicaltrials.gov and selected randomized controlled trials allocating youth with schizophrenia spectrum disorders to a (non-clozapine) antipsychotic versus placebo or another antipsychotic. Major efficacy outcomes were Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total and positive symptoms. Major safety outcomes were weight, plasma triglyceride levels, extrapyramidal symptoms, akathisia, and all-cause discontinuation. Sixteen additional outcomes were analyzed. A random-effects arm-based network meta-analysis was applied, and consistency was assessed by pairwise meta-analysis. Confidence in PANSS total estimates was assessed by applying the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.
Twelve 6- to 12-week trials (N = 2,158; 8-19 years old; 61% boys) involving 8 antipsychotics (aripiprazole, asenapine, paliperidone, risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine, molindone, and ziprasidone) were analyzed. PANSS total symptom change was comparable among antipsychotics (low- to moderate-quality evidence), except ziprasidone (very low- to low-quality evidence), and all antipsychotics were superior to placebo (low- to high-quality evidence), except ziprasidone and asenapine (low- to moderate-quality evidence). PANSS positive changes and additional efficacy outcomes were comparable among antipsychotics. Weight gain was primarily associated with olanzapine; extrapyramidal symptoms and akathisia were associated with molindone; and prolactin increased with risperidone, paliperidone, and olanzapine. Serious adverse events, discontinuation of treatment, sedation, insomnia, or change in triglycerides did not differ among antipsychotics.
This network meta-analysis showed comparable efficacy among antipsychotics for early-onset schizophrenia, except that efficacy appeared inferior for ziprasidone and unclear for asenapine. Adverse reaction profiles varied substantially among the investigated antipsychotics and were largely consistent with prior findings in adults.
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