The effectiveness of mood stabilisers and antiepileptic medication for the management of behaviour problems in adults with intellectual disability: a systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • R Chaplin
  • S Sohanpal
  • R Soni
  • L Lenotre

Colleges, School and Institutes


Background Psychotropic medications are used to manage behaviour problems in adults with intellectual disability (ID). One group of psychotropic medication are mood stabilizers such as lithium and some antiepileptic drugs. Method A comprehensive systematic review was performed to determine the evidence base for the effectiveness of mood stabilizers in the management of behaviour problems among adults with ID. Electronic searches of PsycInfo, Medline, Embase and Cinahl databases were conducted, as well as a thorough hand search for relevant literature. We reviewed primary trials relating to adults only that satisfied strict inclusion criteria. Results One randomized controlled trial (RCT) relating to lithium use and two non-RCTs, one on lithium and the other on carbamazepine, were revealed. In addition, one prospective non-controlled trial on sodium valproate and three retrospective case series studies were discovered, of which one considered the efficacy of lithium, one valproate and one topiramate. Conclusions The current evidence lends some support for the use of lithium and some antiepileptic mood stabilizer medication for the management of behaviour problems in adults with ID. However, because most studies reviewed here are riddled with obvious methodological constrains, the findings have to be interpreted with caution.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • behaviour problem, adults, mood stabilizers, antiepileptic medication, intellectual disability, systematic review