Objective: The aim of this study was to compare clinical and health services outcomes in pediatric inpatients prescribed an atypical antipsychotic (AA) to those not prescribed an AA at discharge.
Methods: Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and, where necessary, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to compare differences between and within an inpatient group prescribed risperidone, olanzapine, or quetiapine (n=1,131) with an inpatient group not prescribed an antipsychotic at discharge (n=1,741).
Results: The AA treatment group showed greater psychiatric symptom difficulty at admission as measured by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children (Mean BPRS-C) than the group not prescribed AAs (40.3 [n=433] vs. 35.2 [n=452], respectively, p<0.001). AA-treated inpatients also had a higher number of mental health outpatient visits during the 6 months prior to admission. Patients receiving AAs (n=1,050) had significantly longer adjusted length of stay (LOS) than those not receiving antipsychotics (n=1,664): 26.4 days versus 22.4 days, respectively (p<0.04).
Conclusions: The findings suggested pediatric inpatients presenting with greater psychiatric symptom difficulty at hospital admission were more likely to be prescribed an AA. Choice of AA may influence certain clinical and health services outcomes. Additional prospective controlled studies evaluating AA efficacy and safety, including head-to-head comparisons, in pediatric inpatients are warranted.