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Adherence to antipsychotic laboratory monitoring guidelines in children and youth: a population-based study


Background — In 2011, the Canadian Alliance for Monitoring Effectiveness and Safety of Antipsychotics in Children (CAMESA) published guidelines for the metabolic monitoring of antipsychotic-treated children and youth. Population-based studies examining adherence to these guidelines are needed to ensure the safe use of antipsychotics in children and youth.

Methods — We conducted a population-based study of all Ontario residents aged 0 to 24 who were newly dispensed an antipsychotic between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. We estimated prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) associating sociodemographic characteristics with the receipt of baseline and follow-up (3- and 6-month) laboratory testing using log-Poisson regression models.

Results — Overall, 6,505 of 27,718 (23.5%) children and youth newly dispensed an antipsychotic received at least one guideline-recommended baseline test. Monitoring was more prevalent among individuals aged 10 to 14 years (PR 1.20; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.38), 15 to 19 years (PR 1.60; 95% CI 1.41 to 1.82), and 20 to 24 years (PR 1.71; 95% CI 1.50 to 1.94) compared to children under the age of 10. Baseline monitoring was associated with mental health-related hospitalizations or emergency department visits in the year preceding therapy (PR 1.76; 95% CI 1.65 to 1.87), a prior diagnosis of schizophrenia (PR 1.20; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.26) or diabetes (PR 1.35; 95% CI 1.19 to 1.54), benzodiazepine use (PR 1.13; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.24), and receipt of a prescription from a child and adolescent psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician versus a family physician (PR 1.41; 95% CI 1.34 to 1.48). Conversely, monitoring was less frequent in individuals co-prescribed stimulants (PR 0.83; 95% CI 0.75 to 0.91). The prevalence of any 3- and 6-month follow-up monitoring among children and youth receiving continuous antipsychotic therapy at these time points was 13.0% (1,179 of 9,080) and 11.4% (597 of 5,261), respectively. Correlates of follow-up testing were similar to those of baseline monitoring.

Conclusion — Most children initiating antipsychotic therapy do not receive guideline-recommended metabolic laboratory monitoring. Further research is needed to understand reasons for poor guideline adherence and the role of clinician training and collaborative service models in promoting best monitoring practices.



Antoniou T, Wang T, Pajer K, Gardner W, Lunsky Y, Penner M, Tadrous M, Mamdani M, Juurlink DN, Gomes T. Front Psychiatry. 2023; 14:1172559. Epub 2023 May 12.

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