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Intellectual Disability Increases Risk of Movement Side Effects from Antipsychotics

In a recent study involving 9,013 adults with intellectual disability and 32,242 adults without intellectual disability, there was an increased risk of movement side effects, which included among others, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a rare but potentially deadly side effect, (Rory Sheehan, Laura Horsfall, Andre Strydom, David Osborn, Kate Walters, Angela Hassoitis, "Movement Side Effects of Antipsychotic Drugs in Adults with and without Intellectual Disability: UK Population-based Cohort Study," BMJ Open 7, (2017): e017406, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017406). Neuroleptic malignant syndrome consists of fever, rigidity and autonomic dysregulation- which is part of the nervous system. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome was three times more common in individuals with intellectual disability compared to individuals without intellectual disability. The rate of parkinson symptoms and akathisia was also increased. Akathisia, a feeling of restlessness and need to move constantly, sometimes manifests itself with increased levels of agitation, which may result in increased dosages of medication. People with intellectual disability may not be able to disclose symptoms, resulting in missing their diagnoses. This is another reason why we need ABA to treat behaviors rather than drugs.