Therapeutic drug monitoring of second-generation antipsychotics in pediatric patients: An observational study in real-life settings

Marco Pozzi, Dario Cattaneo, Sara Baldelli, Serena Fucile, Annalisa Capuano, Carmela Bravaccio, Liberata Sportiello, Silvana Bertella, Fabiana Auricchio, Renato Bernardini, Carmen Ferrajolo, Giuseppe Guastella, Elisa Mani, Carla Carnovale, Simone Pisano, Concetta Rafaniello, Maria Pia Riccio, Renata Rizzo, Maria Grazia Scuderi, Serena SperandeoLaura Villa, Antonio Pascotto, Massimo Molteni, Francesco Rossi, Sonia Radice, Emilio Giuseppe Ignazio Clementi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Available guidelines on therapeutic drug monitoring of second-generation antipsychotics were designed for adults; therefore, they cannot be transferred as such in pediatric patients, who may have different drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. Moreover, available tools that guide dosing in neuropsychiatric pediatric patients are scant, leading to the possibility of reduced efficacy and/or increased risks of toxicity. Here we describe the results of observational therapeutic drug monitoring conducted in three pediatric neuropsychiatry units across Italy in 2012-2014, with the following aims: (1) to describe the distribution of plasma concentrations of second-generation antipsychotics in our pediatric patients and (2) to identify clinical covariates associated with plasma drug levels. Methods: Five hundred fifty-six plasma trough concentrations of the second-generation antipsychotics risperidone (plus 9-hydroxy-risperidone), aripiprazole, olanzapine, and quetiapine were measured from 172 pediatric outpatients overall. The distribution of drug concentrations was described and correlated with drug doses and clinical variables. Results: Risperidone plasma levels were lower than in adults (median 13.6 ng/ml), with a high inter-patient (78.9 %) but lower intra-patient (34.2 %) variability. In multiple regression analyses, risperidone plasma levels depended only on drug dose (p <0.001). Aripiprazole plasma levels were similar to those described in adults (median 165.8 ng/ml) and were widely distributed, with an inter-patient variability of 81.1 %, while the intra-patient variability was much lower (29.3 %). Multiple regression analyses indicated that aripiprazole plasma levels were influenced by the daily doses (p <0.001) and by the number of concomitant drugs (p <0.01). Conclusion: Our study described the distribution of plasma levels of SGAs in a real-life setting involving pediatric patients, significantly increasing the amount of available data for this fragile population. If confirmed in larger dataset, these data may contribute to the definition of optimal therapeutic window for risperidone and aripiprazole plasma levels in pediatric patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Aripiprazole
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Risperidone
  • Second-generation antipsychotics
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic drug monitoring of second-generation antipsychotics in pediatric patients: An observational study in real-life settings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this