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Atypical Antipsychotic Treatment of Disruptive Behavior Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Robert L. Findling, MD

Published: June 30, 2008

Article Abstract

Disruptive behavior disorders, including conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and disruptive behavior disorder not otherwise specified, are serious conditions in children and adolescents that include a behavior pattern of violating the basic rights of others and age-appropriate rules or standards and may include aggressive behavior. Although no pharmacotherapy is currently approved for use in this population, evidence suggests that atypical antipsychotic treatment may be useful in patients with these conditions who present with problematic aggression. Currently, research on risperidone shows it to be effective in treating aggressive behavior in this patient population. Limited research is also available on olanzapine, quetiapine, and aripiprazole, but more research is needed on these and other agents. As with any pharmacotherapy, adverse events (including weight gain, headache, and somnolence) should be carefully considered with these medications, especially in children and adolescents, and it is important to properly dose and monitor patients during medication therapy.

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