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Risperdal for ADHD!?

Posted Jul 31 2009 11:54am
OK, so in my anatomy class yesterday we discussed neurotransmitters.

I learned that:
Low levels of dopamine are linked to ADHD, and Ritalin and other stimulants help partly because they raise dopamine levels.
A dopamine receptor antagonist is used to treat high levels of dopamine, like in schizophrenia.

So recently I was reading about ADHD online, and it seems a lot of psychiatrists are using Risperdal off-label to treat ADHD... which I thought was really weird, because Risperdal is a dopamine receptor antagonist.

"Dopamine receptor antagonist" means it binds to dopamine receptors and stops it from getting through. It's a way to effectively lower the levels of dopamine.

So... wouldn't Risperdal just make things worse? It seems like the exact opposite of what they'd need.

I checked for studies online and found this one:
Risperidone Effects in the Presence/Absence of Psychostimulant Medicine in Children with ADHD, Other Disruptive Behavior Disorders, and Subaverage IQ

These people studied Risperdal for ADHD, and noticed that it decreased "disruptive behavior and hyperactivity". They also said the top side effect was "somnolence"... should stand to reason that if you're tired, it's kind of hard to be hyperactive and disruptive.

I've already been annoyed for a long time at all the prescriptions of Risperdal for kids with even mild autism, just because it's FDA-approved for severe aggression in autism. Most of those kids don't even need it, and the side-effects are nothing to be sneezed at, either. So what's with all the neuroleptics for non-psychotic kids? I don't get it.
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