Background: Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic that was approved, relatively recently, for use in adolescents with schizophrenia. Objective: The aim was to discuss efficacy and tolerability issues of aripiprazole in adolescents suffering from schizophrenia. Method: A Medline search identified only three studies and one post hoc analysis for one of them, concerning the use of aripiprazole in adolescents with schizophrenia. Finally, one of the studies was excluded because of the small number of cases treated with aripiprazole. Results: Based on the clinical evidence, including data from two short-terms clinical trials and one post-hoc analysis of one of the abovementioned studies, aripiprazole seemed generally safe and well tolerated in children and adolescents. Aripiprazole at doses of 10 to 30 mg/day was more efficacious in ameliorating the symptoms (including hostility) of schizophrenia than was placebo. It was associated with low number and mild-to-moderate intensity of adverse events, and with no clinically relevant findings in ECGs, vital signs, and clinical laboratory tests. The most common adverse events were extrapyramidal disorder, somnolence, and tremor. Also aripiprazole is unlikely to be associated with hyperprolactinemia and clinically significant weight gain. Conclusion: Scant information exists to evaluate the use of aripiprazole in early-onset schizophrenia, due to the lack of published studies. The initial encouraging results provide further support and point out the necessity for systematic research on the efficacy and tolerability of aripiprazole in pediatric patients suffering from schizophrenia.
Keywords: Aripiprazole, adverse effects, children and adolescents, effectiveness, schizophrenia, dopamine, risperidone, sedation, hypersalivation, seizures, hyperprolactinemia, Amelioration, extrapyramidal symptoms, dyskinesia, akathisia