Effectiveness of lifestyle interventions for improving the physical health of children and adolescents taking antipsychotic medications: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

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BMJ open


INTRODUCTION: Children and adolescents are increasingly prescribed antipsychotic medications off-label in the treatment of behavioural disorders. While antipsychotic medications are effective in managing behavioural issues, they carry a significant risk of adverse events that compromise ongoing physical health. Of particular concern is the negative impact antipsychotic medications have on cardiometabolic health. Interventions that aim to modify lifestyle habits have the potential to alleviate the adverse effects of antipsychotic medication by enhancing weight management, increasing physical activity, promoting better nutritional practices, improving dietary habits and promoting healthier sleep patterns and sleep hygiene. However, a comprehensive review has not been performed to ascertain the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions for children and adolescents who are at increased risk of antipsychotic-induced compromises to their physical health. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This systematic review will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Four databases will be searched without any year constraints to identify randomised controlled trials that are published in the English language and report a lifestyle intervention compared with usual care with any physical health outcome measure. Trial registers and results repositories will be scoured to identify additional studies. Two reviewers will independently conduct screening, data extraction and quality assessment and compare the results. Quantitative data will be synthesised, where appropriate, through a random-effects meta-analysis model. Otherwise, data will be reported in a qualitative (narrative) synthesis. Heterogeneity will be quantified using the I2 statistic. The Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 tool will be used for risk of bias assessment. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system will be used to evaluate the cumulative body of evidence. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval is not required. The publication plan will target high-impact, peer-reviewed journals that fall under the scope of Psychiatry and Mental Health. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42022380277.

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