Metabolic events associated with the use of antipsychotics in children, adolescents and young adults: a multinational sequence symmetry study

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2022 Jan;31(1):99-120. doi: 10.1007/s00787-020-01674-6. Epub 2020 Nov 13.


It is known that younger patients treated with antipsychotics are at increased risk of metabolic events; however, it is unknown how this risk varies according to ethnicity, the class of antipsychotic and the specific product used, and by age group. We conducted a multinational sequence symmetry study in Asian populations (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) and non-Asian populations (Australia and Denmark) to evaluate the metabolic events associated with antipsychotics in both Asian and non-Asian populations, for typical and atypical antipsychotics, and by the subgroups of children and adolescents, and young adults. Patients aged 6-30 years newly initiating oral antipsychotic drugs were included. We defined a composite outcome for metabolic events which included dyslipidemia, hypertension and hyperglycemia. We calculated the sequence ratio (SR) by dividing the number of people for whom a medicine for one of the outcome events was initiated within a 12-month period after antipsychotic initiation by the number before antipsychotic initiation. This study included 346,904 antipsychotic initiators across seven countries. Antipsychotic use was associated with an increased risk of composite metabolic events with a pooled adjusted SR (ASR) of 1.22 (95% CI 1.00-1.50). Pooled ASRs were similar between Asian (ASR, 1.22; 95% CI 0.88-1.70) and non-Asian populations (ASR, 1.22; 95% CI 1.04-1.43). The pooled ASR for typical and atypical antipsychotics was 0.98 (95% CI 0.85-1.12) and 1.24 (95% CI 0.97-1.59), respectively. No difference was observed in the relative effect in children and adolescents compared to young adults. The risk of metabolic events associated with antipsychotics use was similar in magnitude in Asian and non-Asian populations despite the marked difference in drug utilization patterns.

Keywords: Antipsychotics; Metabolic events; Multi-national data; Pediatrics; Sequence symmetry analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents