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Risperidone and Autism Ranking: Mildly Hazardous Very strong positive evidence

Future Research

Summary of Existing Research

There is a considerable amount of high quality research evidence (more than 20 controlled and randomised controlled trials) and a considerable amount of low quality research (more than 20 single-case design studies with three or more participants) into the use of risperidone for children and young people on the autism spectrum.

This research suggests that risperidone may be beneficial for the treatment of behaviours such as aggression, self-injurious behaviours and sudden mood changes in some children and young people on the autism spectrum.

There is insufficient evidence to determine if risperidone provides any benefits in other areas (such as social communication and social interaction) to children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. There is insufficient evidence to determine if risperidone provides any benefits to adults on the autism spectrum.

There is a considerable amount of research evidence of significant side effects of risperidone in some children and young people on the autism spectrum. Those side effects may include weight gain, drowsiness and raised serum prolactin levels.

Recommendations for Future Research

There is a need for further, large-scale, randomised, double-blind trials on the effectiveness of risperidone. These studies should

  • Investigate the optimal dosage and length of treatment of risperidone for different individuals on the autism spectrum including adults.
  • Compare risperidone with other medications which are designed to achieve the same effects, that is, reduce behaviours such as aggression, self-injurious behaviours and sudden mood changes in some children and young people on the autism spectrum.
  • Compare risperidone with other types of interventions (such as behavioural programmes) which are designed to reduce these kind of behaviours.
  • Investigate the use of combined, multi-component programmes which use risperidone alongside other types of interventions (such as parent training programmes).
  • Use objective measures to monitor any potential behavioural and metabolic side effects over the longer term.
  • Involve people on the autism spectrum and parents and carers in the design, development and evaluation of those studies.
Updated
03 Aug 2018
Last Review
01 Jul 2018
Next Review
01 Jul 2021