Review suggests evidence in favour of risperidone but warns of continued adverse events

Antipsychotic overprescribing is common in people with learning disabilities who have no record of severe mental illness.

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


Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+
Mark as read
Create a personal elf note about this blog
Profile photo of John Northfield

John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

More posts

Follow me here –