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Res Dev Disabil. 2000 Jul-Aug;21(4):263-96.

Psychopharmacology and mental retardation: a 10 year review (1990-1999).

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Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 70803-5501, USA.


We conducted a 10 year review of the literature pertaining to psychopharmacology and mental retardation. Studies were included or excluded from the review based on meeting one or more of the methodological criteria normally considered fundamental for sound scientific research. The vast majority of studies conducted in the last 10 years in this area had major methodological flaws. While a large number of medications were prescribed for various psychological disorders and behavior problems, most drug administrations were not based in science, were not evaluated appropriately, and generally did not follow best practices for treatment of persons with mental retardation. Very few medications prescribed were behavior or psychiatric symptom specific; that is, most medications were given to suppress a myriad of aberrant behaviors thus chemically restraining the individual in question. Practices such as these present serious problems for service providers due to the deleterious side effects of many psychotropic medications and the federal government's intervention into the care-provision practices of developmental centers, community homes, and other living arrangements for persons with mental retardation. Implications of our review are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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