Objective: To develop treatment recommendations for the use of antipsychotic medications for children and adolescents with serious psychiatric disorders and externalizing behavior problems.
Method: Using a combination of evidence- and consensus-based methodologies, recommendations were developed in six phases as informed by three primary sources of information: (1) current scientific evidence (published and unpublished), (2) the expressed needs for treatment-relevant information and guidance specified by clinicians in a series of focus groups, and (3) consensus of clinical and research experts derived from a formal survey and a consensus workshop.
Results: Fourteen treatment recommendations on the use of atypical antipsychotics for aggression in youth with comorbid psychiatric conditions were developed. Each recommendation corresponds to one of the phases of care (evaluation, treatment, stabilization, and maintenance) and includes a brief clinical rationale that draws upon the available scientific evidence and consensus expert opinion derived from survey data and a consensus workshop.
Conclusion: Until additional research from controlled trials becomes available, these evidence- and consensus-based treatment recommendations may be a useful approach to guide the use of antipsychotics in youth with aggression.