Question: For adults with (and adults without) learning disabilities who have tardive dyskinesia/ tardive dystonia/ chorea or other movement disorders, how effective are pharmacological interventions at managing or improving their movement disorder?


Plain language summary

There is very little research in this area; only one, well conducted, but small, study was identified, which found that clomipramine reduces repetitive movements. Further, larger studies are required which look at other pharmacological interventions with individuals both with and without learning disabilities.


Clinical and research implications

One small crossover trial in 10 participants with severe or profound mental retardation found that treatment with clomipramine reduced the frequency of repetitive behaviours in body and object movements compared with placebo. It also reduced the number of days requiring behavioural intervention by staff but had no impact on the frequency of compulsions or self-injurious behaviour, or teachers' assessments of hyperactivity, irritability or lethargy. Although this was a well-conducted study, due to its small size no definite conclusions about the effectiveness of clomipramine can be made. Further, larger-scale, controlled trials assessing clomipramine and other pharmacological interventions in adults with or without learning disabilities are needed.


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