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What Medication Is Used For Aggressive Behavior?

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Have you been asking: What medication is used for aggressive behaviour? This article looks at what drugs are used to treat aggressive behaviour and how effective these are as a treatment.

What Medication Works for Aggression?

Although the use of drugs to promote calm is often regarded as less desirable than other ways of de-escalation, their utilization is frequently required to protect individuals from injury.

When dealing with patients in the mental health field, physicians may face a significant obstacle in the form of aggressive conduct displayed by some individuals. Medication may be required if nonpharmacological therapies are unsuccessful.

Is Aggression A Mental Disorder?
What medication is used for aggressive behavior?

According to the findings of several studies, unchecked aggressive conduct may, over time, cause changes in brain chemistry that increase aggressive behaviour.

It is essential, particularly in cases of abrupt onset, to stop violent conduct before it can cause harm to the patient or another person.

Although the use of drugs to promote calm is often regarded as less desirable than other ways of de-escalation, their utilization is frequently required to protect individuals from injury.

What Are The Types of aggression?

In most cases, there are two distinct categories of aggressive behaviour.

Impulsive aggression

This form of aggression also referred to as emotional or affective anger, typically derives directly from the feelings you are now experiencing in the present moment. It is possible that you will feel unable to control it or that it will appear to come out of nowhere.

Suppose you cannot interact with the person or thing that is frustrating you. In that case, you may choose to turn your animosity toward something or someone else, including yourself, that you can interact.

Impulsive fury includes a classmate stealing the book you needed for a research project. You go over to get the book when they leave for the restroom, but before you can, you turn off their computer, causing them to lose their work. Your date gives you a pricey watch. Accepting the present is awkward.

Instrumental aggression

This form of aggression, sometimes called cognitive aggression, comprises forethought and intent, generally to achieve a specific objective or goal.

Every act of aggression entails some degree of intent to inflict pain on a target who expresses no desire to be harmed. On the other hand, actions of instrumental aggression typically require more calculation and purpose, and they do not involve any loss of control.

Drugs for Treating Aggression

Major tranquilizers (also known as neuroleptics or antipsychotics)

Drugs classified as significant tranquilizers are also referred to as neuroleptics and antipsychotics. These classes of medication were initially designed for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Neuroleptics and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed to Alzheimer’s patients to treat behavioural symptoms; however, the efficacy of these medications is debatable, and patients should be aware of the risks associated with taking them.

The use of strong tranquillizers in patients who have dementia is still a contentious topic, and clinical trials are currently being conducted to assess further how helpful these medications are at present.

Although none of these treatments is specifically licensed to treat people with dementia, they are frequently prescribed to treat symptoms associated with dementia.

These symptoms include agitation, delusions (disturbed thoughts and false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not there), sleep disturbance, and aggressive behaviour.

It is not quite obvious how these medications can benefit patients, and this demographic has a range of viewpoints regarding whether or not they should be taken.

The findings of the first phase of the CATIE-AD study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provide the first set of data on the effectiveness of the treatment in real-world settings, where previously very little information was available. In general, the findings of this experiment suggest:

Although some atypical antipsychotic medications provide some patients with some degree of benefit, the vast majority of Alzheimer’s patients who are experiencing psychotic symptoms are unable to benefit from the use of these drugs.

Before turning to antipsychotic medications, good clinical practice dictates that it is necessary to rule out the possibility that a medical condition or the environment causes the agitation and aggression associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, behavioural interventions should be considered. If this is the case, an antipsychotic drug may be necessary.

Clinicians owe it to their Alzheimer’s patients to keep a careful eye on them if they experience unbearable side effects or other potential dangers. It is essential for medical professionals to be aware of the limitations of these medications and to carefully consider the potential dangers and advantages of using them.

What kind of data is there to support different therapies for agitation and aggression?

Evidence of moderate quality found a small to the medium-sized effect of less hostility with second-generation antipsychotics compared to first-generation antipsychotics, particularly when given in high doses (>500mg chlorpromazine equivalent).

This effect was found in patients who were given high doses of second-generation antipsychotics.

Regarding certain antipsychotics. In the short term, data ranging from moderate to high quality suggested haloperidol was more beneficial than a placebo for sedation, agitation, and mental status. However, haloperidol was shown to generate more significant extrapyramidal symptoms.

Aripiprazole provided marginally better results than the placebo in calming agitation and reducing the number of required injections. Without any discernible changes to the adverse consequences.

The benefits of haloperidol for aggressive behaviour were comparable to those of aripiprazole, but the medication required fewer injections. In general, aripiprazole was associated with a lower risk of adverse events than haloperidol.

Evidence of a quality that is considered to be moderate showed that olanzapine was superior to haloperidol in terms of sedation, agitation, and adverse effects—especially symptoms of extrapyramidal disorders.
Compared to aripiprazole, olanzapine was associated with lower levels of agitation and a more positive overall state. Olanzapine, on the other hand, caused significantly more sleepiness.

Risperidone was superior to haloperidol in terms of its ability to induce drowsiness and reduce aggressive behaviour, although haloperidol led to a greater degree of akathisia.

The benefits of ziprasidone for sedation and aggression were comparable to those of haloperidol, but it had fewer adverse effects. Compared to haloperidol, droperidol resulted in much fewer occasions where an additional injection was required.

Evidence of moderate to low quality supports an average benefit of 5-10 mg of aerosol loxapine for lowering agitation compared to inhaled placebo.

People who received supplementary benzodiazepines were more likely to be sedated for up to one hour, according to moderate to low-quality data. This was identified in the context of combination therapy. However, they were not any less aggressive after an hour had passed. Then individuals who were only taking antipsychotic medication.

When supplementary benzodiazepines were used, patients experienced less Parkinsonism and more somnolence.

Regarding sedation, the combination of haloperidol and promethazine was more successful than haloperidol on its own and led to a lower incidence of adverse effects in general, most notably dystonia.

The combination of risperidone and clonazepam was associated with a more significant number of overall adverse events than haloperidol. Specific extrapyramidal symptoms. With neither sedation nor agitation being affected in any way.


We hope this article was able to answer your questions about: What medication is used for aggressive behavior?

If you want to discover more information about managing aggressive behaviour, follow the link to our other pages on this topic.