Aggression Following Traumatic brain injury: Effectiveness of Risperidone (AFTER): study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial

Deb, Shoumitro, Leeson, Verity, Aimola, Lina, Bodani, Mayur, Li, Lucia, Weaver, Tim ORCID logoORCID:, Sharp, David and Crawford, Mike (2018) Aggression Following Traumatic brain injury: Effectiveness of Risperidone (AFTER): study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial. Trials, 19 . ISSN 1745-6215 [Article] (doi:10.1186/s13063-018-2601-z)

PDF - Published version (with publisher's formatting)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (452kB) | Preview


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health concern and many people develop long-lasting physical and neuropsychiatric consequences following a TBI. Despite the emphasis on physical rehabilitation, it is the emotional and behavioural consequences that have greater impact on people with TBI and their families. One such problem behaviour is aggression which can be directed towards others, towards property or towards the self.Aggression is reported to be common after TBI (37–71%) and causes major stress for patients and their families.Both drug and non-drug interventions are used to manage this challenging behaviour, but the evidence-base for these interventions is poor and no drugs are currently licensed for the treatment of aggression following TBI. The most commonly used drugs for this purpose are antipsychotics, particularly second-generation drugs such as risperidone. Despite this widespread use, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of antipsychotic drugs, including risperidone, have not been conducted. We have, therefore, set out to test the feasibility of conducting an RCT of this drug for people who have aggressive behaviour following TBI.

Methods/design: We will examine the feasibility of conducting a placebo-controlled, double-blind RCT of risperidone for the management of aggression in adults with TBI and also assess participants’ views about their experience of taking part in the study. We will randomise 50 TBI patients from secondary care services in four centres in London and Kent to up to 4 mg of risperidone orally or an inert placebo and follow them up 12 weeks later. Participants will be randomised to active or control treatment in a 1:1 ratio via an external and remote web-based randomisation service. Participants will be assessed at baseline and 12-week follow-up using a battery of assessment scales to measure changes in aggressive behaviour (MOAS, IRQ) as well as global functioning (GOS-E, CGI), quality of life (EQ-5D-5L, SF-12) and mental health (HADS). We will also assess the adverse effect profile with a standard scale (UKU) and collect available data from medical records on blood tests (serum glucose/HbA1c, lipid profile, prolactin), and check body weight and blood pressure. In addition completion of the MOAS and a check for any new or worsening side-effect will be completed weekly and used by the prescribing clinician to determine continuing dosage. Family carers’ well being will be assessed with CWSQ. Service use will be recorded using CSRI. A process evaluation will be carried out at theend of the trial using both qualitative and quantitative methodology.

Discussion: Aggressive behaviour causes immense distress among some people with TBI and their families. By examining the feasibility of a double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT, we aim to discover whether this approach can successfully be used to test the effects of risperidone for the treatment of aggressive behaviour among people with aggression following TBI and improve the evidence base for the treatment of these symptoms. Our criteria for demonstrating success of the feasibility study are: (1) recruitment of at least 80% of the study sample, (2) uptake of intervention by at least 80% of participants in the active arm of the trial and (3) completion of follow-up interviews at 12 weeks by at least 75% of the study participants.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article number = 325
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 25880
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Timothy Weaver
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2019 13:14
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.