New generation anti-psychotic medications are being used to treat aggressive behaviours in people with learning disabilities, whether or not individuals have a formal diagnosis of a mental health problem.
This study set out to evaluate the effectiveness of two such new generation anti-psychotic medications, olanzapine and risperidone.
The study looked at how effective these two medications were in treating aggressive behaviour in people with learning disabilities where first generation anti-psychotics had not been successful.
The study team identified 62 people with learning disabilities to take part and they underwent a two-arm, parallel group pragmatic trial of olanzapine and risperidone with balanced randomisation and blind assessment of outcome.
The study team report that both risperidone and olanzapine were found to be more effective than first generation anti-psychotics in reducing aggressive behaviour.
The authors conclude that both olanzapine and risperidone can be effective in reducing aggressive behaviour in people with learning disabilities and that their observations of the impact on the 62 participants suggested that both the medications were well tolerated, with the side effects reported being similar to those that would be encountered in other patient populations without learning disabilties.
Olanzapine vs. risperidone in treating aggressive behaviours in adults with intellectual disability: a single blind study, Amore M et al., in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 55: 210–218.