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Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2010;16(3):265-72. doi: 10.1002/ddrr.119.

Pharmacotherapy of disruptive behavior in mentally retarded subjects: A review of the current literature.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.


The review presented here describes the state of the art of pharmacological treatment of aggression in subjects with mental retardation (MR) summing up results for both, children and adults. In general, psychopharmacological treatment of disruptive behavior in individuals with MR is similar to the treatment in subjects without MR. Compared to individuals without MR medication should "start lower and go slower." For children and adults results were similar but were obtained by somewhat different medications. There is evidence for the conventional antipsychotic zuclopenthixol having positive effects on disruptive behavior. Most studies described the atypical antipsychotic risperidone to control severe self-injurious behavior and other behavior problems in a variety of diagnoses. Anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and anxiolytic medications are reported as effective as well for the treatment of individuals with disruptive behavior. Aggression-related behavior often gets treated with stimulants or with stimulants combined with atypical neuroleptics.

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