Antipsychotic Drugs – No Better Than Placebo for Some

In the January 5th, 2008 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, researchers in the UK did a study to determine if the antipsychotic drugs haloperidol or risperidone were helpful in controlling the behavior of intellectually disabled people exhibiting aggressive behavior. After looking at the results the authors came up with a surprising finding, there were no benefits over placebo from either drug. In actuality, the placebo was more effective than the drugs at reducing aggressive behavior. The placebo showed no negative reactions or lowering of effect at any time during the trial which is quite significant.

So who would physicians prescribe this drug to that the study found no benefits for? Typically autistics and epileptic children who have had a significant number of seizures. Others might include those with Down’s syndrome as well.

The authors interpretation of the data was as follows: ” Antisychotic drugs should no longer be regarded as an acceptable routine treatment for aggressive challenging behavior in people with intellectual disability” Considering the significant side-effects these drugs pose, I would avoid using these drugs at all costs and would recommend anyone with intellectual disabilities be taken off the drug (carefully and with full physicians care).