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Antipsychotics for aggressive behaviour: no better than placebo for non-psychotic adults with learning difficulties

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Peter Tyrer

Correspondence to: Professor Peter Tyrer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Imperial, St Dunstan’s Road, London W6 8RP, UK;



Do risperidone or haloperidol reduce aggressive challenging behaviour more than placebo in people with intellectual disability?


86 adults with intellectual disability (intelligence quotient <75) and aggressive challenging behaviour (⩾2 episodes of aggressive behaviour, modified overt aggression scale (MOAS) score ⩾4 in past 7 days), but who had not received a clinical diagnosis of psychosis. Exclusions: depot or injected antipsychotics in the past 3 months, oral antipsychotics in the past week; currently sectioned under the Mental Health Act.


Ten centres in the UK and one centre in Australia; recruitment 2002–6.


Risperidone, haloperidol or placebo for 12 weeks, with the option to continue to 26 weeks. Drug dosage could be adjusted by the clinician (risperidone dose …

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  • Competing interests: None.