Published Evidence

Treatment of Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder in a Large Survey Population.

Calaprice D, Tona J, Murphy TK.

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017 Aug 23. doi: 10.1089/cap.2017.0101



The goal of this study was to investigate treatment histories and outcomes in a large community sample of youth with Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), and, where appropriate, to examine the impact of immune deficiency on treatment outcomes.


A comprehensive internet-based survey was completed by parents or guardians of youth who had received physician diagnoses of PANS, or by young adults (age 18+) who had themselves been diagnosed by a physician (N = 698). Data regarding the treatment histories of these patients, including the variety of medical and psychological treatments employed and the caregiver- or self-reported response to each, are presented.


The PANS patients in this study had commonly been treated with antibiotic (N = 675), anti-inflammatory (N = 437), and/or psychotropic therapy (N = 378). Response to antibiotic treatment was best when treatment was relatively aggressive, with broad-spectrum antibiotics and courses of >30 days generally producing the best results (i.e., up to 52% of patients achieving a “very effective” response). For immune-deficient patients (caregiver-reported laboratory studies below normal limits; N = 108), use of broad-spectrum antibiotics appeared to be particularly desirable. Anti-inflammatory therapies, including over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, were at least “somewhat effective” for most patients. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) had been used to treat PANS in 193 (28%) of the patients and was at least “somewhat effective” for 89%, although for 18% of these, the effect was not sustained. The highest rate of sustained response to IVIG treatment was seen in immune-deficient patients who received doses of at least 0.8 g/kg IVIG on a regular basis. Psychotropic medications, most commonly SSRIs (38% reported a trial), were commonly employed, but were often ineffective (e.g., 44% found SSRIs “somewhat” to “very effective”). Many patients (N = 473) had received some form of psychotherapy with some benefit, with cognitive behavioral therapy found to be at least somewhat effective in a majority of those treated with this modality.


Among the PANS patients represented in this study, relatively aggressive treatment courses targeted at eradicating infection and modulating the inflammatory response appeared to provide the best caregiver-reported therapeutic results, and to be generally well tolerated. Given its relative efficacy and tolerability, treatment targeting the inflammatory response may represent an underutilized approach in this population. The results of this study should be considered in light of the limitations inherent in a self-selected and administered online

Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi

Published: 7th March 2019

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