This systematic review set out to look at the efficacy of atypical antipsychotic medication, also known as second generation antipsychotics, commonly used in the treatment of schizophrenia. There continues to be debate around whether these second-generation medications are safer or more effective than typical antipsychotics as they still can produce severe side effects. Other posts on this blog have looked at articles exploring this issue.
The authors of the review point out that the use of atypical antipsychic medications to manage problem behaviours is becoming widespread, but there is limited evidence to support their use.
The review focused specifically on the efficacy of atypical antipsychotics in managing problem behaviour in children with learning disabilities and borderline intelligence.
The review found 6 placebo-controlled randomised double-blind trialswhich the authors suggest shoe that risperidone was significantly more effective than placebo in managing problem behaviours.
Unsurprisingly however, most of the studies found also drew attention to events, for example somnolence and weight gain.
The authors conclude that there is now some evidence in favour of the use of risperidone, but that given the tendency for adverse events, that such medications should be used with caution.
Efficacy of atypical antipsychotic medication in the management of behaviour problems in children with intellectual disabilities and borderline intelligence: A systematic review, Unwin G & Deb S in Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32, 6,, 2121-2133