What medication is used for aggressive behavior?
Independent Learning,  Individual Development

What Medication Is Used For Aggressive Behavior?

What medication is used for aggressive behaviour? We look at the use of medication in controlling aggressive behaviour. Find out more about the types of medication used to reduce aggression.

Medication That Work For Aggression

Medications to induce calm are often necessary to protect individuals from injury while being seen as less desirable than other de-escalation methods.

Mental health professionals may encounter strong resistance from patients in the form of aggressive behaviour when treating patients.

If other treatment methods have failed, medication may be necessary.

Studies have shown that prolonged acts of aggression might alter brain chemistry in ways that make people more likely to act aggressively.

Stopping violent behaviour before it causes injury to the patient or others is crucial, especially in cases of sudden onset. While there are undoubtedly preferable methods of de-escalation, there are times when it’s necessary to resort to drug use to keep people safe.

The Varieties of Aggression

Typically, there are two types of aggressive interactions.

Impulsive aggression:

This type of hostility, also known as emotional or affective anger, stems from the emotions you are currently experiencing. It could feel out of your control or appear to have arrived from nowhere.

If you cannot change the situation causing you frustration, you can direct that frustration elsewhere, perhaps even towards yourself.

Instrumental aggression:

Sometimes called “cognitive aggression,” this sort of hostility involves deliberate planning and execution in service of a specific end.

All acts of aggression are motivated by a desire to cause harm to a person who has made it clear they do not want to be harmed. On the other hand, instrumental aggressiveness is more calculated and deliberate, and it never results in a loss of control.

Drugs for Treating Aggression and Psychotic Symptoms

The effectiveness and safety of neuroleptics and antipsychotics for treating behavioural symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients remain controversial.

Significant tranquillizers, commonly known as neuroleptics and antipsychotics, are psychoactive drugs.

First developed to treat schizophrenia, these drug classes have found use in various mental health conditions.

There is still debate over whether or not strong tranquillizers are beneficial for persons with dementia. Thus studies are being done to learn more.

Now, right now. Although none of these treatments has been approved for the treatment of dementia, they are commonly used to alleviate dementia-related symptoms.

These symptoms include agitation, delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (perceiving sounds or sights that aren’t actually present), disturbed sleep, and violent conduct.

Antipsychotic Medication in Treating Behavioral Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Whether or not this population should be prescribed these medicines is a matter of debate, and it is not immediately clear how they can help patients.

The results of the pilot phase of the National Institute of Mental Health-funded CATIE-AD project provide the first evidence of the treatment’s efficacy in real-world situations where data were few. The results of this experiment show, in general:

Even though some people get relief from their psychotic symptoms when taking atypical antipsychotics, these treatments are often ineffective for the vast majority of Alzheimer’s patients who are experiencing them.

It is a standard therapeutic practice to rule out medical and environmental causes of agitation and violence in Alzheimer’s before resorting to antipsychotic drugs. Behavioural interventions are another option worth thinking about.

The use of antipsychotic medication may be required in such cases. It is the responsibility of clinicians to monitor Alzheimer’s patients closely in case they encounter intolerable side effects or other hazards. Healthcare providers must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of using these drugs before prescribing them to patients.

Evidence for treatments of aggression?


Somewhat weak evidence suggests that second-generation antipsychotics, especially when administered in high doses (>500mg chlorpromazine equivalent), reduce hostility more than first-generation antipsychotics.

Patients prescribed high doses of second-generation antipsychotics exhibited this side effect.


Regarding specific antipsychotic medications. Studies comparing haloperidol to a placebo found improvements in sedation, agitation, and mental status in the short term, with results ranging from moderate to high quality.

While both drugs can cause extrapyramidal reactions, haloperidol has been known to produce more severe ones.


In terms of lowering agitation and the number of injections necessary, aripiprazole was somewhat more effective than the placebo, without any observable amelioration of the negative effects.

Regarding controlling aggressive behaviour, haloperidol is just as effective as aripiprazole but requires fewer doses. The incidence of adverse events was generally lower with aripiprazole compared to haloperidol.


We found that olanzapine significantly outperformed haloperidol in terms of sedation, agitation, and adverse effects, and this evidence was deemed to be of moderate quality. In particular, those associated with extrapyramidal diseases.

Olanzapine was connected to less agitation and a better mood than aripiprazole. However, olanzapine led to substantially higher drowsiness.

Although haloperidol caused more severe akathisia, risperidone was more effective at reducing aggressive behaviour and inducing sleep.


Ziprasidone’s advantages over haloperidol for sedation and aggression were equivalent, but it had fewer side effects. There were fewer instances where an additional injection was needed with droperidol compared to haloperidol.


Aerosol doses of loxapine ranging from 5-10 mg are effective in reducing agitation compared to inhaled placebo.

Combination therapies

A higher percentage of those who got additional benzodiazepines were sedated for up to an hour, according to moderate to low-quality data. In the context of combination therapy, this was discovered.

However, after an hour of treatment, they were just as hostile as those who were given only antipsychotics.

With the addition of benzodiazepines, patients had reduced tremors and sleepiness but fewer Parkinson’s symptoms.

The combination of haloperidol and promethazine was more effective than haloperidol alone in achieving sedation and also resulted in a lower incidence of side effects, most notably dystonia.

Overall, more adverse events were reported when risperidone and clonazepam were used together than when haloperidol was used alone. Extrapyramidal symptoms are very precise. With no change in the level of sedation or agitation.

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.

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