Primary Outcome Measures:
- Increase in BMI [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
Secondary Outcome Measures:
- Change in glucose and lipids [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
Introduction: Antipsychotics have been used for many years to treat serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar illness (manic depression). These older drugs carry a higher risk of side effects like shaking, stiffness, restlessness or uncontrolled movements. They may occur when the drugs are first taken, or later, after years of use. Newer drugs called atypical antipsychotics (ATA's) are much less likely to cause these problems. Their lack of these side effects and greater safety have led doctors to use them for other diseases in both adults and younger patients. They have proved to be helpful in aggression, impulsiveness, anxiety and mood swings. Unfortunately, a number of other side effects, such as weight gain, increased rates of diabetes and increases in cholesterol have also been identified. While a lot of current research into these side effects has been done in adults, there have been few studies with younger patients. The research so far has been brief and involved small numbers. This is especially important in this young and potentially vulnerable group of patients.
Study Methods: This research will study children and teens aged 6 to 18 who are being treated with the newer drugs for the first time. If agreeable to the patients and their parents or guardians, their doctors will prescribe one of the newer drugs and will measure the effects, if any, on weight, blood sugar, cholesterol as well as the improvement in their condition. Weight, height, and blood work will be done before the drug is started, and 6 and 12 months after they have been on it, comparing the results with their original values. The doctor, the patient and the parent or guardian will rate the patients' condition at these times, as well, to evaluate their improvement.