Interventions to Improve Metabolic Risk Screening Among Children and Adolescents on Antipsychotic Medication: A Systematic Review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objective: Antipsychotic use among youth is common and is associated with metabolic side effects such as weight gain. Guidelines recommend periodic screening of metabolic measures in youth prescribed antipsychotics; however, a guideline-to-practice gap exists. We systematically reviewed the literature to synthesize the knowledge from interventions that aim to improve antipsychotic metabolic screening. We described the interventions' effect on screening rates, the strategies used for improvement, and study quality. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of studies that attempted to improve antipsychotic metabolic risk screening practices among pediatric populations published between 2004 and August 2019. We included studies with an improvement intervention that compared screening rates before and after the intervention. We extracted data about study characteristics, screening rates in pre- and postintervention groups, strategies used to influence screening practices, and assessed studies' risk of bias. This review was prospectively registered with PROSPERO #CRD42018088241. Results: We identified six studies that demonstrated modest improvements in median metabolic screening rates for waist circumference (0%-16%), glucose (9%-39%), and lipids (11%-37%). Median postintervention screening rates were higher for weight and blood pressure (84% and 72.5%) compared with glucose and lipids (39% and 37%). Interventions used a variety of improvement strategies to address patient-, provider-, and organization-level barriers for screening, including increasing patient and provider knowledge regarding antipsychotic side effects, fostering social clinical environments that promote screening, and organizational commitment for screening antipsychotic-treated youth. All interventions were deemed at high risk of bias due to uncontrolled design and lack of adjustment for confounders. Conclusions: Included studies reported partial success in improving antipsychotic screening rates but were of poor methodological quality. Common improvement strategies may affect provider behavior to conduct metabolic screening, but these need to be tailored to local resources and organization structure. Future studies need to use rigorous methodology and theory-informed improvement strategies aligned with organizational actions to prioritize safe and judicious practice of antipsychotics among pediatric populations.


  • Melamed, Osnat C
  • LaChance, Laura R
  • O'Neill, Braden G
  • Rodak, Terri
  • Taylor, Valerie

publication date

  • February 1, 2021