Treatment of early-onset schizophrenia

Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Current opinion in psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.94). 07/2010; 23(4):304-10. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32833b027e
Source: PubMed


Treatment of children who develop schizophrenia in childhood and early adolescence presents unique considerations. There has been increasing attention to the importance of early intervention and whether treatment effects may be affected by brain development.
Several recent trials support the use of antipsychotics for treatment of schizophrenia in children and adolescents. Clozapine shows greater efficacy in children and adolescents than it has in adults. A large-scale trial comparing a first-generation antipsychotic (molindone) with newer agents did not find significant differences in treatment response, although the newer antipsychotics were associated with more severe weight gain. Data regarding effects of antipsychotics on brain development in children and young adolescents with schizophrenia are sparse, although one report found no difference between effects of clozapine and olanzapine on cortical thickness.
Although psychosocial interventions are an important adjunctive treatment, antipsychotic medications continue to be the mainstay of treatment. Careful monitoring of metabolic side effects and age-appropriate intervention is particularly important, as children and adolescents appear to be more likely to develop metabolic abnormalities such as pronounced weight gain, which may significantly impact adherence as well as lead to other health issues.

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    • "While adult onset schizophrenia (AOS) has been studied in great detail for many decades, research on EOS and VEOS is still more limited, partly due to its low prevalence and the fact that EOS was not recognized in the diagnostic systems before the introduction of DSM-III. The prevalence of schizophrenia in children and adolescents is rather low, with estimates of VEOS varying between 1 in 10.000 [21], 1 in 30.000 in children before age 13 [13], and 1.4 in 10.000 before age 15 [26]. Among patients with schizophrenia, a Finnish study found that 4.7% had onset at or before age 18 [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current review analyzes the long-term outcome and prognosis of early onset schizophrenia based on previously published studies in 1980. A systematic search of articles published in the English-language literature after 1980 identified a total of 21 studies, which included 716 patients who were either suffering from early onset schizophrenia (EOS) or both EOS and other psychotic disorders (MIX). The authors of the current review scored the outcome as either “good,” “moderate,” or “poor.” The mean age of onset in these studies was <18 years. In general, the outcome in studies with EOS is worse than the outcome in MIX studies. Only 15.4% of the patients in EOS studies versus 19.6% of the patients in MIX studies experienced a “good” outcome. In contrast, 24.5% of the patients in EOS studies versus 33.6% in MIX studies experienced a “moderate” outcome, and 60.1% in EOS studies versus 46.8% in MIX studies experienced a “poor” outcome. The authors identified various significant effects on outcome. In EOS, the findings were significantly affected by sample attrition, indicating that in studies with a high dropout rate, fewer patients experienced a “moderate” outcome, and more patients experienced a “poor” outcome; however, the effect sizes were small. Furthermore, the effects were also small and more favourable for specific functioning measures, as opposed to more global measures, small to moderate in terms of worse outcomes for follow-up periods >10 years, small to moderate for more unfavourable outcomes in males, and small to large for worse outcomes in studies including patients diagnosed before 1970. In contrast to the adult manifestation, the early manifestation of schizophrenia in childhood and adolescence still carries a particularly poor prognosis. According to these aggregated data analyses, longer follow-up periods, male sex, and patients having been diagnosed before 1970 contribute predominantly to the rather poor course of EOS.
    BMC Psychiatry 09/2012; 12(1):150. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-12-150 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Abundant DA in the DLPFC appears to lessen as postnatal development progresses yet DA may take on a more targeted role in DLPFC functions such as in cognition, particularly after the first decade of life. Our results underscore the need for greater understanding of how the drugs used to treat ADHD, which increase cortical DA neurotransmission and are typically given in school age children [74], and schizophrenia, which block DA neurotransmission (DRD2) and are often given in adolescence, [75] may alter these normal developmental trajectories. "
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    ABSTRACT: Dopamine is integral to cognition, learning and memory, and dysfunctions of the frontal cortical dopamine system have been implicated in several developmental neuropsychiatric disorders. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is critical for working memory which does not fully mature until the third decade of life. Few studies have reported on the normal development of the dopamine system in human DLPFC during postnatal life. We assessed pre- and postsynaptic components of the dopamine system including tyrosine hydroxylase, the dopamine receptors (D1, D2 short and D2 long isoforms, D4, D5), catechol-O-methyltransferase, and monoamine oxidase (A and B) in the developing human DLPFC (6 weeks -50 years). Gene expression was first analysed by microarray and then by quantitative real-time PCR. Protein expression was analysed by western blot. Protein levels for tyrosine hydroxylase peaked during the first year of life (p < 0.001) then gradually declined to adulthood. Similarly, mRNA levels of dopamine receptors D2S (p < 0.001) and D2L (p = 0.003) isoforms, monoamine oxidase A (p < 0.001) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (p = 0.024) were significantly higher in neonates and infants as was catechol-O-methyltransferase protein (32 kDa, p = 0.027). In contrast, dopamine D1 receptor mRNA correlated positively with age (p = 0.002) and dopamine D1 receptor protein expression increased throughout development (p < 0.001) with adults having the highest D1 protein levels (p ≤ 0.01). Monoamine oxidase B mRNA and protein (p < 0.001) levels also increased significantly throughout development. Interestingly, dopamine D5 receptor mRNA levels negatively correlated with age (r = -0.31, p = 0.018) in an expression profile opposite to that of the dopamine D1 receptor. We find distinct developmental changes in key components of the dopamine system in DLPFC over postnatal life. Those genes that are highly expressed during the first year of postnatal life may influence and orchestrate the early development of cortical neural circuitry while genes portraying a pattern of increasing expression with age may indicate a role in DLPFC maturation and attainment of adult levels of cognitive function.
    BMC Neuroscience 02/2012; 13(1):18. DOI:10.1186/1471-2202-13-18 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need for more studies on the clinical effectiveness, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of atypical antipsychotics in adolescents with psychotic disorders, as this represents a vulnerable and difficult population to treat. According to recent concerns regarding disabling side effects of antipsychotics, particularly weight gain, further monitoring of their safety profiles is needed. This situation prompted the authors to carry out an investigation on the clinical effectiveness of quetiapine in psychotic adolescents. 23 adolescents (13-18 years old) with psychotic disorders participated in a 12-week open label trial, including 6 visits assessing clinical efficacy, tolerability and safety of quetiapine (50-750 mg daily). Adolescents were treated with lower doses compared to adults. Significant decreases in CGI and PANSS total scores were observed after both 4 and 12 weeks of quetiapine treatment compared to baseline. Sedation was the main adverse effect, but medication was generally well tolerated. Irregular compliance, (as assessed by pill counts, a questionnaire and by plasma quetiapine concentration monitoring), and alcohol and/or cannabis consumption were factors identified in this study which add to the difficulty in treating this population. The results of the present study help to consolidate evidence of the usefulness of quetiapine as a treatment for adolescents with psychotic disorders. However, this study also highlights the issues encountered in treating this group, including the presence of comorbidities such as drug abuse.
    Pharmacopsychiatry 02/2011; 44(3):87-95. DOI:10.1055/s-0031-1271682 · 1.85 Impact Factor
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