Psychotropic Medicines Are Often Prescribed Research Proposal

Total Length: 1100 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: -4

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VIII. Preliminary Literature Review

The work of Martin, Scahill, Klin and Volkmar (1999) entitled: "Higher-Functioning Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Rates and Patterns of Psychotropic Drugs Use" reports a study in which the frequency, characteristics and associated target symptoms of psychotropic drug use among individuals with developmental disorders and specifically those with "higher functioning pervasive developmental disorders. (HFPDDs) in a total of 109 children, adolescents and adults results show that 55% of these were taking psychotropic drugs and 29.3% were taking two or more of these medications simultaneously. Conclusions of the study report as follows: "Psychotropic medication use appears to be common among subjects with HFPDDs, yet not generally based on the results of empirical research. Clinical heterogeneity among treated subjects suggests that psychiatric comorbidity may be overlooked in this population." (Martin, Scahill, Klin and Volkmar, 1999) the work of Reynolds and Dombeck (2006) relates that individuals with autism spectrum disorders are often treated with psychotropic medications. These medications are stated to assist in the reduction of aggressive behaviors and repetitive movements and to have been found to lessen withdrawal on the social level in some individuals. It was reported in a study published in the Pediatrics Journal (2006) that a study conducted among 862 participants between the ages of 4 to 18 years of age and including all levels of mental retardation found that antipsychotic drugs are associated with "pervasive developmental disorder, whereas clonidine and stimulants were associated with self-absorbed and disruptive behavior, respectively. Although clonidine and risperidone are not registered for the problems reported and the other nonstimulants were only sometimes used on-label, their use was associated with specific psychiatric or behavioral problems." (De Bildt, et al., 2006) the work of Mikkelsen (nd) entitled: "The Rational Use of Psychotropic Medication for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities" states that psychiatric diagnosis is "a necessary, but not a sufficient basis to justify the use of psychotropic medication in individuals with intellectual disabilities.
" Psychotropic medications have historically being indiscriminately used for address behavioral problems in individuals with developmental disabilities.

IX. Summary of Literature Reviewed

The literature reviewed in this research proposal has demonstrated that there is a lack of empirical knowledge relating to the prescribing of psychotropic medications to individuals with developmental disabilities. It is acknowledged that psychotropic medications should not routinely be prescribed to individuals with developmental disabilities.

X. Recommendations for Research

Arising from this brief study is a recommendation for research as stated in the previously sections of this work in writing focused toward the development of best practice guidelines for prescribing psychotropic medications to individuals with developmental disunities.


Martin, Andres; Scahill, Lawrence, Klin, Ami, and Volkmar (1999) Higher-Functioning Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Rates and Patterns of Psychotropic Drug Use. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Vol. 38 Issue 7. Online available at:

Reynolds, Tammi; Dombeck, Mark (2006) Autism: Medication. Online available at:

De Bildt, Annelies, et al. (2006) Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Behavior Problems, and Psychotropic Drug Use in Children and Adolescents With Mental Retardation. Pediatrics Journal Vol. 118 No. 6 December 2006. Online available at:

Mikkelsen, Edwin J. (nd) the Rational Use of Psychotropic Medication for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. NADD. Online available at:

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