St.Amant Research Centre asked special education teachers working with students with intellectual/developmental disabilities what information they need to do their job better. We found out teachers wanted help dealing with students who display challenging behaviours. Our team found evidence-based ways to manage problem behaviours and then translated the information into easy-to-understand resources to use in their classrooms. To help other teachers and paraprofessionals, we developed overviews of some common medications received by students with special needs, and described how they typically affect behaviour.
Below you will find the most common medications prescribed to individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities, why they are prescribed, and the most common side-effects.
Aripiprazole is used to treat mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. It is used in combination with other medication to treat depression.
Atomoxetine is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Atomoxetine may improve attention, concentration, and focus. It may help fidgeting.
Citalopram is used to treat depression. Citalopram improves energy levels and feelings of well-being.
Divalproex Sodium is used to treat seizure disorders, certain psychiatric conditions (manic phase of bipolar disorder) and to prevent migraine headaches.
Levetiracetam is used in combination with other medications to treat seizure disorders (epilepsy).
Loxapine is used to treat mood disorders such as schizophrenia. Loxapine may help improve concentration, and reduce anxiety. It may help reduce aggression, hallucinations, and the desire to hurt oneself/others.
Olanzapine is used to treat mood conditions such as Schizophrenia and bipolar mania. It is used in combination with other medication to treat depression. Olanzapine helps to reduce feelings of nervousness, improves concentration, and reduces hallucinations.
Risperidone, also known as Risperidal, is used to treat psychosis in individuals who have a psychotic illness.
Venlafaxine is used to treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder. Venlafaxine improves mood, energy levels, and restores interest in daily living. It can also decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks.
Ziprasidone is used to treat mood disorders such as schizophrenia or manic/mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Ziprasidone helps to reduce feelings of nervousness, and improves concentration. It can also help one think more clearly and take a more active part in everyday life.