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Schizophrenia drug calms children

Risperidone appears to be safe and effective for treating disruptive behaviour in children with developmental disorders.

Schizophrenia drug calms children

Risperidone, a drug used to treat schizophrenia, appears to be safe and effective for treating disruptive behaviour in children with developmental disorders. Researchers from the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Canada, randomly assigned 79 children, age 5 to 12 years, with pervasive developmental disorders, to treatment with Risperidone or an inactive placebo over an 8-week period. The group given Risperidone showed a significantly greater average decrease (64 percent) in irritability than did participants given placebo (31 percent). They also showed significantly greater decreases in measures of anxiety, hyperactivity and excessive sensitivity. Overall, 87 percent of Risperidone patients showed an overall improvement in their condition versus 40 percent of the placebo group. Sleepiness, which affected 73 percent of the children on Risperidone and 8 percent of placebo patients, was the most common side effect - but it was manageable by alteration of doses and scheduling. Risperidone also resulted in significantly greater increases in weight, pulse rate and blood pressure than did placebo treatment.
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Improving disruptive behaviours allows a child to have a better quality of life. Hence, it is critical that appropriately structured studies of medications be done with children so that it is known what works and what is safe, the researchers concluded.
Pediatrics,
October 2004

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