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

J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2006 Dec;31(4):204-9. doi: 10.1080/13668250601006924.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status / drug effects*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risperidone / adverse effects*
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Risperidone