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Reducing antipsychotic medication in people with a learning disability.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Volume176
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)42-46
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background The use of antipsychotic drugs in people with learning disabilities is currently receiving intensified scrutiny and attempts are being made to reduce it. Aims A randomised controlled trial was designed to investigate factors influencing antipsychotic drug reduction among people with learning disabilities prescribed such medication for behavioural problems. Method Thirty-six participants randomly allocated to the experimental group under went four, monthly 25% drug reduction stages. There were no planned drug changes for the control group (n=20). Results Twelve participants (33%) completed full withdrawal; a further seven (19%) achieved and maintained at least a 50% reduction. Drug reduction was associated with increased dyskinesia and higher activity engagement but not increased maladaptive behaviour. Some setting characteristics were associated with drug reinstatement. Conclusions A substantial proportion of people with learning disability prescribed antipsychotic medications for behavioural purposes rather than for treating psychotic illness can have their drugs reduced or withdrawn.