Dietary status and impact of risperidone on nutritional balance in children with autism: A pilot study

Ronald L. Lindsay, L. Eugene Arnold, Michael G. Aman, Benedetto Vitiello, David J. Posey, Christopher J. McDougle, Lawrence Scahill, Maryellen Pachler, James T. McCracken, Elaine Tierney, Dawn Bozzolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Risperidone may be effective in improving tantrums, aggression, or self-injurious behaviour in children with autism, but often leads to weight gain. Method: Using a quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), we prospectively examined the nutritional intake of 20 children with autism participating in a randomised placebo-controlled trial of risperidone for disruptive behaviours. Results: At baseline, the mean intakes for macronutrients, vitamins and minerals exceeded Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). However there was substantial inter-participant variability, with individual deficiencies (<80% of DRI) in the intake of calcium (9 of 20 participants), pantothenic acid (6 of 20), vitamin D (5 of 20) and vitamin K (8 of 20). For the participants for whom FFQs were available, there was an increase in weight and an increase in vitamin K intake after 2 months of risperidone treatment (n=9) compared to placebo (n=8). An additional 4 months of risperidone treatment (n=8) did not result in significant changes in reported nutritional balance. Conclusion: These pilot data suggest that treatment with risperidone did not significantly affect the nutritional balance of this small group of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-209
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Adolescents
  • Autism
  • Children
  • Nutrition
  • Risperidone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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