Imperial College London

Professor Saumitra (Shoumitro) (Shoumi) Deb

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Visiting Professor
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 3313 4161s.deb CV

 
 
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Location

 

Commonwealth BuildingHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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313 results found

Limbu B, Deb S, 2022, Support staff liaising effectively with professionals for the rational use of psychotropics for behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual disabilities: findings from a co-design event., Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN: 1664-0640

Experience Based Co-Design (EBCD) and co-production are interdisciplinary collaborative approaches to improve health care services by involving all stakeholders. These approaches capture the experiences of all stakeholders who come in contact with services and use experiences as evidence to promote and implement service changes. The use of psychotropic medications for behaviours that challenge (BtC) in people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is a complex issue because of its off-license use and use in combination with other medications for physical and psychiatric co-morbidities, which leads to overmedication of people with ID. As support staff play a pivotal role in the prescribing for people with ID, we have developed a staff training programme, SPECTROM, to help reduce overmedication. A project team developed SPECTROM under the guidance of a Programme Development Group (PDG) consisting of 21 stakeholders. The PDG analysed data from a literature review, four focus groups and a co-design event day involving 26 stakeholders. In this paper, we have presented data based on the findings from the co-design event day, primarily on the issue of support staff effectively liaising with professionals such as doctors, nurses and other community learning disability team members. In-depth information and recommendations were proposed at the co-design event, which helped develop the draft SPECTROM. The draft was finalised after receiving feedback from 56 stakeholders. Co-production and a modified EBCD can be successfully used to create training interventions and improve health care services. More research should utilise co-production and EBCD and use service users’ experiences to develop interventions and improve health care services.

Journal article

Deb S, Limbu B, 2022, Support staff liaising effectively with family caregivers: findings from a co-design event and recommendation for a staff training source., Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN: 1664-0640

A high proportion of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are prescribed psychotropic medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants etc., outside their licenced indications, primarily for the management of behaviours that challenge (BtC) in the absence of a psychiatric disorder. Examples of BtC are aggression to people and property or self-injury. BtC could be challenging to manage and may cause patient and caregivers distress, breakdown of community placement leading to hospitalisation, and restrictive practices such as restraint or inappropriate medication use. Caregivers play a pivotal role in the prescribing process. However, many family caregivers feel that they have not been fully involved in the shared decision-making process about the care planning of their relatives with ID/ASD. To address the public health concern regarding the overuse of off-licence prescribing in people with ID/ASD, we have recently developed a training programme called SPECTROM (Short-term Psycho-Education for Carers To Reduce OverMedication of people with intellectual disabilities) for direct care staff who support people with ID/ASD within community settings. We used co-production and a modified Experience-Based Co-Design method to develop SPECTROM, which involved a literature review, four focus groups and a co-design event day involving 26 stakeholders. Recommendations from the co-design event day were analysed by a Programme Development Group (PDG) consisting of 21 stakeholders who made the final recommendations to the project team regarding the contents and the format of SPECTROM, which was finalised after receiving feedback from further 56 stakeholders. SPECTROM has web-based resources introduced through two core modules in face-to-face workshops/training. A small field test found SPECTROM was effective in improving staff’s knowledge of psychotropic medications and attitude toward BtC and people with ID (p < 0.05). One of the

Journal article

Deb SS, Limbu B, Unwin GL, Weaver Tet al., 2022, Causes of and alternatives to medication for behaviours that challenge in people with intellectual disabilities: direct care providers’ perspectives, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol: 19, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1660-4601

Behaviours that challenge (BtC), such as aggression and self-injury, are manifested by many people with intellectual disabilities (ID). National and international guidelines recommend non-pharmacological psychosocial intervention before considering medication to address BtC. Support staff play a pivotal role in the prescription process. Using coproduction, we developed a training programme for support staff, called SPECTROM, to give them knowledge and empower them to question inappropriate prescriptions and ask for the discontinuation of medication if appropriate and instead look for ways to help people with ID when they are distressed without relying on medication. We have presented data from two focus groups that we conducted during the development of SPECTROM: one that included support staff, and another that had service managers and trainers. In these focus groups, we explored participants’ views on the use of medication to address BtC with a particular emphasis on the causes of and alternatives to medication for BtC. Along with the participants’ views, we have also presented how we have addressed these issues in the SPECTROM resources.

Journal article

Bertelli M, Deb S, Bianco A, 2022, Rational prescription of psychotropic medications., Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder., Editors: Matson, Sturmey, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG., Pages: 1121-1138

Psychotropic medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabiliser, anti-anxiety/benzodiazepines etc., are used frequently in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They are used for ASD core symptoms; associated symptoms, such as sleep disorders; co-morbid psychiatric disorders; and, problem behaviors. Whereas the indication for their use for various psychiatric disorders is relatively clear, the rationale for their use for problem behavior in the absence of a diagnosed psychiatric disorder is less clear because of poor evidence base to support their use in these circumstances. National and international good practice guidelines recommend non-pharmacological interventions for problem behavior as the first line of intervention although the use of psychotropic medication may be justified when the risk to the person or others is very high or only for a short period of time at a minimum possible dose as long as regular reviews are conducted with the view to withdrawing them as soon as possible. Medication-related adverse effects may be more pronounced in this population and the risk of drug–drug interaction is high because of use of polypharmacy of psychotropic medications and frequent use of medication for physical disorders. It is also difficult to detect adverse effects because of communication difficulties experienced by people with ASD. The lack of capacity to give informed consent for the treatment also raises ethical issues. Where possible reasonable adjustments, such as use of accessible information, should be used to help with the consent process. Both family and paid caregivers should discuss the treatment options with other involved professionals keeping the best interests of the person in mind.

Book chapter

Deb S, Roy M, Limbu B, 2022, Antidepressants., Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder., Editors: Matson, Sturmey, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Pages: 1139-1156

Depressive symptoms are common co-morbidities of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, studies of antidepressants haveprimarily assessed their efficacy on ASD core symptoms, particularly repetitive behaviour rather than depression possibly because ofselective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) known for their positive effect on the treatment of repetitive behaviour and obsessive compulsive behaviour. Other outcomes have included associated symptoms such as irritability, aggression and other problembehaviours. Most publications are case studies. There were only three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving tricyclicantidepressants (two on clomipramine and one on tianeptine) showing an equivocal result and were associated with a high rate ofadverse events. Most placebo controlled RCTs were on SSRIs (13 studies), findings of which are equivocal, some showing somepositive effect and others showing no effect, and some showing more medication related adverse events. Of the three larger studieswith reasonable sample size (over 100 participants), two showed a negative outcome and one showed mixed results. Studies haveinvolved children, adolescents, and adults with ASD. On the basis of the evidence available currently it is difficult to draw anydefinitive conclusion about the effectiveness of antidepressant medications in people with ASD either on the ASD core symptoms orany associated behaviours or symptoms. Therefore, the clinicians must assess possible harm against potential benefit in each casewhen considering using antidepressants in people with ASD.

Book chapter

Deb S, Roy M, Limbu B, Bertelli Met al., 2022, Anti-anxiety medications and novel treatments for autism., Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder., Editors: Matson, Sturmey, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Pages: 1157-1172

Anxiety symptoms are common in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most studies of antianxiety medications are on buspirone andbeta-blockers. The outcomes included ASD core symptoms, repetitive behaviour, irritability, anxiety, and other associated behaviorssuch as challenging behaviors. Most publications are only case studies. There are only two RCTs on buspirone (both used paralleldesigns) and none on beta-blockers. One study on buspirone included 166 children with ASD and showed no statistically significantintergroup difference in the primary outcome ADOS composite total score. The second one involved 40 children with ASD andfound buspirone significantly reduced irritability symptoms. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for use in people with ASDbecause of adverse events related to their use and withdrawal, apart from high dose lorazepam, which is recommended for thetreatment of catatonia which could be a co-morbidity in some people with ASD. Studies have involved children, adolescents, andadults with ASD. Based on the evidence available currently it is difficult to draw any definitive conclusion about the effectiveness ofantianxiety medications in people with ASD either on the ASD core symptoms or any associated behaviors/symptoms. Several novelpharmacological interventions have been tried on experimental basis to improve ASD core symptoms primarily targeted atcholinergic, glutamate/NMDA, GABA, melatonin systems, and oxytocin and vasopressin. Despite promising results from animalstudies, the findings so far from human studies remain equivocal and inconsistent, and none of these compounds have shown anyconvincing evidence in their support yet for use in people with ASD.

Book chapter

Deb S, Bertelli M, Rossi M, 2022, Psychopharmacology, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder., Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 247-279, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Psychotropic medications are used regularly off-label for the management of problem behaviour in individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) in the absence of a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. This practice is controversial. Evidence for the efficacy of psychotropic medication in this context is poor. Three RCTs involving risperidone among adults with ID showed equivocal results. Six RCTs involving children with ID +/- autism showed risperidone being significantly more effective compared with the placebo. In two pharmaceutical company run studies, aripiprazole was shown to be significantly effective compared with placebo in children with ASD, some of whom also had ID. Equivocal results are found based on primarily cross-over RCTs on the opioid antagonist. Old small studies of lithium showed equivocal results. It is, therefore, suggested that the use of psychotropic medication in this context should be monitored carefully and regularly using national and international guides.

Book chapter

, 2022, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder., Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

This textbook provides a state of the art of the knowledge on the prevalence, risk and etiological factors, clinical features, assessment procedures and tools, diagnostic criteria, treatment, and prognosis of the psychiatric disorders encountered in people with intellectual disability (ID) and low-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ID and ASD represent two meta-syndromic groups of several different conditions, each with particular cognitive and communication features. People with ID/ASD display an increased prevalence of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety and stress-related disorders, somatoform disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well behavioural syndromes, personality disorders, and disorders due to psychoactive substance use. This book will enable readers to understand the specificities of psychiatric disorders in the context of ID/ASD. It explains clearly how diagnostic criteria and assessment procedures for psychiatric disorders that were created for the general population have to be modified for use with ID/ASD. Above all, it will enable clinicians to overcome difficulties in diagnosis and deliver more effective care that meets the particular needs of patients with ID/ASD.

Book

, 2022, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

This textbook provides a state of the art of the knowledge on the prevalence, risk and etiological factors, clinical features, assessment procedures and tools, diagnostic criteria, treatment, and prognosis of the psychiatric disorders encountered in people with intellectual disability (ID) and low-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ID and ASD represent two meta-syndromic groups of several different conditions, each with particular cognitive and communication features. People with ID/ASD display an increased prevalence of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety and stress-related disorders, somatoform disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well behavioral syndromes, personality disorders, and disorders due to psychoactive substance use. This book will enable readers to understand the specificities of psychiatric disorders in the context of ID/ASD. It explains clearly how diagnostic criteria and assessment procedures for psychiatric disorders that were created for the general population have to be modified for use with ID/ASD. Above all, it will enable clinicians to overcome difficulties in diagnosis and to deliver more effective care that meets the particular needs of patients with ID/ASD.

Book

Weber G, Bertelli M, Deb S, Kwok H, Parmenter Tet al., 2022, Education and training opportunities, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Pages: 869-886-869-886, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

This chapter reviews the educational and training opportunities on mental health and intellectual disabilities (ID). The lack of well-trained professionals in ID mental health, such as psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, is highlighted in the background of recent service development and advancement in knowledge in the field. The chapter reveals major disparities in training of professionals in mental health issues in ID both within and among countries, particularly in Europe. Formal accredited training schemes, where available as well as online resources for self-learning have been described in the chapter. We point out the role and responsibility of national governments in strengthening effective leadership and governance for mental health policy and take the necessary steps to assure a high-quality mental health system, including ID mental health. Stakeholders from the ID mental health field are encouraged to set up a pan-European or international collaboration to coordinate the development of a shared generic framework for curriculum for education and training for professionals and carers in the ID mental health field.

Book chapter

Deb S, Roy M, 2022, Behavioural and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 513-536, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders is a new category under DSM-V classification system. These disorders originate in childhood and often continue into adulthood. There is a strong association between these disorders and intellectual disabilities (ID). They include conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder which is a less severe form of conduct disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder, which was part of impulse control disorder in pervious DSM classifications. However, by definition many of these disorders have to show an intention behind the behaviour, which is not easy to determine, particularly among those who have severe and profound ID. Other impulse control disorders include pyromania, kleptomania, gambling disorder, compulsive sexual behaviour disorder, trichotillomania and excoriation disorder. Body focussed repetitive behaviour, on the other hand, includes stereotyped movement disorder and self-injurious behaviour. The aetiology of these disorders is complex and often is the outcome of an interaction between internal factors within the person and external factors such as the environment. Management of these behaviours is often difficult, therefore, requires input from a multitude of professionals with relevant and specific skills to provide a person-centred assessment and management. The ultimate aim should be to improve the quality of life of the person with ID and their family members.

Book chapter

Deb S, Roy M, Bachman C, Bertelli Met al., 2022, Specific learning disorders, motor disorders, and communication disorders, 'Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 513-536, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs) occur early during the first years of formal schooling, with difficulty in learning, reading, writing and arithmetic. They occur in the absence of a global impairment of intelligence and intellectual capability, although these disorders are prevalent among children and adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). These disorders originate in childhood and often continue into adulthood among many. Various treatments are available showing varied rate of success for SLDs. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterised by inattention or hyperactivity/ impulsivity or both. The onset of ADHD is in childhood but in a proportion of cases some symptoms continue into adulthood. There is a strong association among ADHD, ID, problem behaviour and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Drug treatment such as with psychostimulants like methylphenidate along with psychosocial intervention are effective in a high proportion of cases to improve ADHD symptoms. Motor disorders such as motor coordination difficulties, Tic and Tourette’s syndrome are common in children and adults with ID. Children and adults with ID manifest various types of communication disorders including speech sound disorder, speech fluency disorder (stuttering) and social (pragmatic) communication disorder. Social communication disorder is common among children and adults with ASD. Various strategies could be implemented to address communication disorders among people with ID.

Book chapter

Deb S, Roy M, 2022, Behavioural and Emotional Disorders with Onset Usually Occurring in Childhood and Adolescence, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 513-535, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders is a new category under DSM-V classification system. These disorders originate in childhood and often continue into adulthood. There is a strong association between these disorders and intellectual disabilities (ID). They include conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder which is a less severe form of conduct disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder, which was part of impulse control disorder in pervious DSM classifications. However, by definition many of these disorders have to show an intention behind the behaviour, which is not easy to determine, particularly among those who have severe and profound ID. Other impulse control disorders include pyromania, kleptomania, gambling disorder, compulsive sexual behaviour disorder, trichotillomania and excoriation disorder. Body focussed repetitive behaviour, on the other hand, includes stereotyped movement disorder and self-injurious behaviour. The aetiology of these disorders is complex and often is the outcome of an interaction between internal factors within the person and external factors such as the environment. Management of these behaviours is often difficult, therefore, requires input from a multitude of professionals with relevant and specific skills to provide a person-centred assessment and management. The ultimate aim should be to improve the quality of life of the person with ID and their family members.

Book chapter

Deb S, Unwin G, Cooper S-A, Rojahn Jet al., 2022, Problem Behaviour, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder., Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 145-185, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at a higher risk of developing problem behaviour (PB). The prevalence varies from study to study depending on the definition of PB used and the population recruited. Although prevalence rates vary widely between 2% and 60%, the majority of studies quoted a prevalence rate of overall PB somewhere around in 60% of people but the more severe challenging behaviour is reported in a smaller proportion of people (around 10%-15%). Outwardly directed aggression (about 10%) to other individuals and objects and self-injurious behaviour are the commonest forms of PB. PB in general and aggression, in particular, poses a major management problem and is a major barrier to social integration, leads to caregiver stress, community placement breakdown and use of the restrictive practice. Various factors such as age, gender, level of ID, level of communication, co-morbidities such as psychiatric disorder, other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) etc. may influence the rate and the severity of PB. A thorough person-centred assessment is vital for a successful management. The assessment should take a bio-psycho-social approach by incorporating assessments of the behaviour, the person showing the behaviour, medical, psychiatric/psychological, and social/environmental issues. A number of instruments are available to rate different types of PB and assess their impact. Some of these are generic and some are specific to PB. Some functional assessment scales that assess the environmental effect are also available. The aetiology of PB is complex and often is the outcome of an interaction between internal factors within the person and external factors such as the environment. Therefore, the management of PB requires input from a multitude of professionals with relevant and specific skills. The ultimate aim should be to improve the quality of life of the person

Book chapter

Deb S, Strydom A, Hithersay R, Gomiero T, De Vreese LP, Janicki MP, Jokinen NS, Service KPet al., 2022, Dementia in People with Intellectual Disabilities, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder., Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 719-756, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

With the increasing life expectancy in the last five decades, people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are exposed to the risk of age-related neurodegenerative disorders including dementia. The prevalence of dementia is increased in people with ID compared with that in the general population. People with Down syndrome (DS) are even at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) compared with non-DS people with ID. However, there are difficulties in making an early and accurate diagnosis of dementia in individuals with ID and the screening instruments such as the Mini Mental Status Examination that are used in the general population often show floor effects when used for individuals with ID because of their pre-existing cognitive impairment, the level of which varies depending on the severity of ID. Both informant-rated and direct neuropsychological tests have been used for the case detection of dementia for individuals with ID. However, direct neuropsychological tests cannot be used for those who have severe ID and their validity could still be questionable in a number of cases of mild to moderate ID. There are many similarities and some differences in the clinical manifestation of dementia in individuals with ID and the non-ID general population. Impaired recent memory and confusion in the context of relatively intact distant memory is likely to be an early symptom in individuals with ID who have a mild ID, whereas loss of skills and behaviour changes are likely to be an early feature for those with more severe ID. Many symptoms, including features of ‘frontal lobe dysfunction’ that tend to appear late in the dementing process in the general population, may appear early in individuals with ID and DS. Ideally, individuals with ID should be screened for signs of dementia from before the age of 30/35. A multi-disciplinary approach should be taken for diagnosis of dementia in individuals with ID using a combination of informant-rated scal

Book chapter

Deb S, Perera B, Bertelli M, 2022, Attention Defcit Hyperactivity Disorder, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Editors: Bertelli, Deb, Munir, Hassiotis, Salvador-Carulla, Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022, Pages: 457-482, ISBN: 978-3-319-95719-7

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterised by inattention or hyperactivity/ impulsivity or both. The onset of ADHD is in childhood but in a proportion of cases, some symptoms continue into adulthood. There is a strong association between ADHD, intellectual disabilities (ID), problem behaviour and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In fact, the prevalence rate of ADHD in people persons with ID and ASD respectively is reported to be significantly higher than the general population, with a percentage ranging between e of 10% and-28%. It might be difficult to diagnose ADHD in persons with ID and low-functioning ASD. The stringent use of categorical diagnostic criteria might limit the identification of the disorder since some criteria may not be applicable, particularly for those with more severe cognitive and communication impairments. Observation of a person’s distractibility that is not consistent with their developmental level of development may help when considering the symptom of inattention in an individual with ID, while hyperactivity and impulsivity are better indicated by fidgeting most of the time, appearing ‘on the go’, and being unable to remain seated for a long time and to wait for one’s turn, which can often lead to verbal or physical aggression, irritability, mood fluctuations, or self-harming behaviour.Although ADHD in the non-ID population is a widely researched area, the lack of high-quality research on ADHD in ID has been a barrier to the advancement of treatment in this patient group, with most studies having named ID as an exclusion criterion. Drug treatment such as psychostimulants like methylphenidate along with psychosocial interventions is effective in a high proportion of cases to improve ADHD symptoms. Although the overall effect size of psychostimulant is lower than that observed in the non-ID general population despite the adverse effect profile being similar in both populations.

Book chapter

Deb S, Limbu B, Roy M, Lee R, Majid M, Santambrogio J, Roy A, Bertelli Met al., 2022, Randomised controlled trials of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications for people with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK

Background Around 17% of people with ASD are prescribed antidepressants and 7% antianxiety medications despite limited evidence of their efficacy.Aims We have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RCTs that assessed the effectiveness of antidepressants and antianxiety medications in people with ASD of all ages.Method We have searched the following databases: Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC, DARE, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Additionally, we have hand-searched 11 relevant journals in the field of intellectual disabilities, ASD and psychopharmacology. The quality of the included papers was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and Jadad score. We have also carried out a meta-analysis using a random-effects model.Results We have found 15 RCTs (13 on antidepressants and two on antianxiety medication buspirone) that included a total of 958 people with ASD primarily children and adolescents. There were four RCTs on fluoxetine, two each on clomipramine, venlafaxine, fluvoxamine, and one each on citalopram, sertraline and agomelatine. RCTs assessed efficacy of these medications on ASD core symptoms and associated behaviours such as agitation, irritability, and aggression rather than psychiatric disorders like anxiety or depression. Data showed contradictory findings among the studies with larger studies mostly showing a non-significant difference in outcomes between the treatment and the placebo group. Meta-analysis of pooled Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and Clinical Global Impression Scale data from nine studies (60%) did not show any statistically significant intergroup difference on either of the outcome measures. The adverse effects reported were mild and, in most studies, their rates did not show any significant intergroup difference.Conclusions It is difficult to draw any definitive conclusion about the effectiveness of either antidepressants or antianxiety medications to treat either ASD core symptoms or assoc

Poster

Deb S, Limbu B, Roy M, Lee R, Roy A, Taiwo Oet al., 2022, Randomised controlled trials of mood stabilisers for people with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK.

Background Around 9% of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receive mood stabilisers/antiepileptic medications such as sodium valproate despite lack of evidence to suggest psychotropic medications including mood stabilisers are effective in individuals with ASD.Aims A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out on the RCTs that assessed the effectiveness of mood stabilisers including lithium in people with ASD.Method The following databases were searched: Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC, DARE, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Additionally, we hand-searched 12 relevant journals in the fields of intellectual disabilities, ASD and psychopharmacology. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and Jadad score were used to assess the quality of included RCTs. A meta-analysis was also carried out using a random-effects model.Results Eight RCTs were included in this systematic review (three on divalproex sodium, two on levetiracetam, and one each on sodium valproate, lamotrigine and topiramate) that included a total of 310 people with ASD, primarily children. No RCT on lithium was found. Outcomes were based on ASD core symptoms such as restrictive and repetitive behaviour, language and communication impairment, and associated symptoms such as irritability and agitation but not bipolar disorder or any other psychiatric disorders. Only two small studies (25%) from the same group showed definite superiority over placebo and one over psychoeducation alone. Meta-analysis of pooled data on Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Irritability subdomain score (ABC-I), Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I), and Overt Aggression Scale (OAS)/OAS-Modified (OAS-M) did not show any significant intergroup difference. The rates of adverse effects did not show any significant intergroup difference.Conclusions It is difficult to draw any definitive conclusion about the effectiveness of mood stabilisers including lithium and antiepileptic medications to treat either ASD cor

Poster

Deb S, Akrout Brizard B, Limbu B, Baeza-Velasco Cet al., 2022, Is epilepsy a risk factor for developing psychiatric disorders in adults with intellectual disabilities? A systematic review and meta-analysis., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK.

Background Psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety are commonly associated with epilepsy in the general population but the relationship between psychiatric disorders and epilepsy among adults with intellectual disabilities is unclear. AimsA systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out to assess whether epilepsy is associated with an increased rate of psychiatric disorders in adults with intellectual disabilities. MethodRelevant literature published between 1985 and 2020, using EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed and DARE databases were included and six relevant journals in the fields of intellectual disabilities and epilepsy were hand searched. The Cochrane Risk of Bias assessment tool and Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) 50 criteria were used to assess the quality of the included papers. A number of meta-analyses were also carried out.Results Twenty-nine papers were included in our systematic review that presented data overall on 9,594 adults with intellectual disabilities, 3,180 of whom had epilepsy and 6,414 did not. Of the 11 controlled studies that compared the overall rate of psychiatric disorders between epilepsy and the non-epilepsy group, seven did not show any significant intergroup difference. Meta-analysis was possible on pooled data from seven controlled studies which did not show any significant intergroup difference in the overall rate of psychiatric disorders. The rates of psychotic disorders, depressive disorders and anxiety disorders were significantly higher in the non-epilepsy control groups compared with the epilepsy group with effect sizes of 0.29, 0.47, 0.58 respectively. Epilepsy related factors such as the types of epilepsy syndrome and seizure, frequency, EEG abnormalities, medication related factors such as polypharmacy or antiepileptic types did not show any definite association with psychiatric disorders.Conclusions It is difficult to pool data from such heterogeneous studies and draw any definitive conclusion

Poster

Deb S, Limbu B, Retzer A, Roy M, Roy A, Acharya Ret al., 2022, The effectiveness of parent training for children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analyses., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK.

Background Various parent training interventions are shown to have some effect on the symptoms of children with autism spectrum disorder, but the interventions used are heterogeneous. Methods A systematic review and several meta-analyses using random effects method were carried out to assess effectiveness of parental training for children with autism spectrum disorder on their core autism symptoms and associated behaviours such as agitation and irritability, and also parental stress. We searched four electronic databases, namely CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO for relevant literature. Two reviewers independently and blindly screened titles, abstracts and full articles using an eligibility checklist designed following Cochrane handbook guide and extracted data using a structured proforma adapted from Cochrane handbook. Several meta-analyses were carried out where it was possible to pool data from different studies that used the same outcome measures.Results Seventeen papers from 15 studies were included for data analysis. Fifteen papers showed a positive treatment effect when compared with the control group, although not always significant. Meta-analysis based on pooled data from only two studies in each respective intervention, showed small to moderate treatment effects for three interventions, DIR/Floortime, Pivotal Response and Parent focused training. Conclusions As in previous systematic reviews there was a mild to moderate treatment effects of three specific types of interventions respectively. However, it was difficult to draw any definitive conclusion about the effectiveness and generalisability of any intervention because of the wide variation in the interventions, control groups, outcome measures, small sample size, small number of studies in meta-analysis, overlap between the intervention and control procedures used in the included studies. There is an urgent need for experts in various international centres to jointly standardise a parent training in

Poster

Deb S, Akrout Brizard B, Limbu B, 2022, Is epilepsy a risk factor for behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual disabilities? A systematic review and meta-analysis., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK.

BackgroundBoth epilepsy (c.24%) and behaviours that challenge (BtC) (24-60%) are common in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). However, the relationship between epilepsy and BtC, particularly in the inter-ictal phase in adults with ID is not clear. AimsWe have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published data using a random effects model to identify whether there is an association between epilepsy and BtC among adults with ID as pervious systematic reviews failed to show any such association.MethodsEmbase, PubMed/MEDLINE, PsycINFO, DARE and ASSIA (ProQuest) databases were searched. We also hand searched six relevant journals in the fields of ID and epilepsy. All selected titles, abstracts and full articles were screened independently by two authors using standardised eligibility criteria for selection derived from Cochrane handbook. Several meta-analyses were carried out.ResultsThe narrative analysis of data from 34 included articles involving overall 14,168 adults with ID of whom 4781 had epilepsy showed overall no significant association between epilepsy and BtC. Only 19 studies used a control group (only nine were matched). Data from only 16 controlled studies could be pooled for meta-analysis. This showed no significant intergroup difference but after sensitivity analysis meta-analysis of 10 studies showed a significantly higher rate of overall BtC in the epilepsy group (effect size: 0.16) when compared with the non-epilepsy group. Aggression and self-injurious behaviour both showed a statistically significant higher rate in the epilepsy group with very small effect sizes (0.16 and 0.28 respectively). No significant intergroup difference was observed in the rate of stereotypy.ConclusionsThe findings are contradictory and have to be interpreted with caution because of the difficulty in pooling data from a vary varied studies which is likely to introduce confounding, and where significant the effect sizes are small and may not be clin

Poster

Deb S, Limbu B, Unwin G, 2022, Comprehensive Assessment of Triggers for Behaviours of Concern Scale (CATS)., Royal College of Psychiatrists Conference, London.

BackgroundBehaviours of concern (BoC) may be displayed by many people with neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder (20-60%). BoC can be difficult to manage if caregivers do not understand the reasons for the behaviour. Identifying the contextual variables/triggers for the behaviour is likely to help undertake a functional analysis leading to a person-centred positive behaviour support plan.AimsWe have developed a comprehensive triggers/contextual variables scale called Comprehensive Assessment of Triggers for behaviours of concern Scale (CATS).MethodsCATS was developed in two stages. In stage 1, we used a ‘bottom-up’ approach, in which caregivers of adults with intellectual disabilities who show aggressive behaviour were interviewed to identify the triggers for aggression. In stage two, using a ‘top-down’ approach, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to gather items from existing trigger checklists. Trigger items from both stages were combined and the duplicates were removed.ResultsIn stage 1, 168 contextual variables were identified which were categorised under five main themes (internal environment (within the person), external environment (outside of the person), expression of volition, characteristics of intellectual disabilities, and specific activities/events) and 12 subthemes. The highest number of items mentioned by the caregivers fell in the categories of external environment (n = 92) and internal environment (n = 76). In stage 2, 20 articles were selected for inclusion. Six published scales were found related to contextual variables and another five related to functional assessment. The final list in CATS consists of 333 contextual triggers categorised under five main domains and 12 subdomains (https://spectrom.wixsite.com/project). CATS can be used by caregivers to identify triggers or antecedents of BoC. ConclusionsCATS is easy to use by the caregivers and does not req

Poster

Deb S, Nancarrow T, Limbu B, Shankar R, Wilcock M, Branford D, Courtenay K, Sheehan R, Perera Bet al., 2022, UK psychiatrists’ experience of withdrawal of antipsychotics prescribed for behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism., Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, London, UK.

Background A high proportion of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are prescribed off-licence antipsychotics in the absence of a psychiatric illness primarily for behaviours that challenge (Batch). NHS England launched an initiative, ‘Stopping over-medication of people with a learning (intellectual) disability, autism or both’ (STOMP), to address this major public health concern to which STAMP was also added recentlyAims To gain understanding of the prescribing practice of the UK psychiatrists who work with adults with ID on the successes and challenges of withdrawing antipsychotics for batch. Methods An online questionnaire was sent to all UK psychiatrists working with adults with ID (estimated n = 225). Among other things, the questionnaire covered psychiatrists’ prescribing habits, the structures in place to support the withdrawal process, the barriers to achieving withdrawal.Results Eighty-eight psychiatrists (39%) responded. About 52% of the respondents stated that they are less likely to initiate an antipsychotic to treat BtC in adults with ID since the launch of STOMP. However, since then, 47% are prescribing other classes of psychotropic medication instead of antipsychotics for BtC, most frequently the antidepressants. Complete antipsychotic discontinuation in over 50% of patients treated with antipsychotics was achieved by only 4.5% of respondents (n = 4); 11% reported deterioration in BtC in over 50% of patients upon withdrawal and the same proportion (11%) reported no deterioration. Only 32% of respondents made the diagnosis of psychiatric illness in all their patients themselves. Family and paid caregivers’ concern, lack of multiagency and multidisciplinary input, unavailability of nonmedical psychosocial intervention, and a nationally agreed structure for antipsychotic withdrawal backed up by appropriate training for local adaptation are key reported factors hampering the withdrawal attempt. Conclusions There is an urgent

Poster

Bertelli MO, Deb S, Munir K, Hassiotis A, Salvador-Carulla Let al., 2022, Textbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Publisher: Springer, ISBN: 9783319957197

This book will enable readers to understand the specificities of psychiatric disorders in the context of ID/ASD.

Book

Limbu B, Deb S, Roy M, Lee R, Roy A, Taiwo Oet al., 2022, Randomised controlled trials of mood stabilisers for people with autism spectrum disorder: systematic review and meta-analysis, BJPSYCH OPEN, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2056-4724

Journal article

Deb S, Perera B, Krysta K, Ozer M, Bertelli M, Novell R, Wieland J, Sappok Tet al., 2022, The European guideline on the assessment and diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in adults with intellectual disabilities, The European Journal of Psychiatry, Vol: 36, Pages: 11-25, ISSN: 0213-6163

Background and objectivesIn most countries worldwide, general adult psychiatrists look after the mental health of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) without appropriate specialist training in the field. It is, therefore, necessary to develop a practice guideline to help these clinicians to assess and diagnose psychiatric disorders in adults with ID.MethodsWe have developed an evidence and consensus-based practice guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of major functional psychiatric disorders in adults with ID. Several senior psychiatrists from different European countries formed a guideline development group who assessed the evidence gathered from a systematic literature search to produce the guideline.ResultsAdults with ID develop the same psychiatric disorders as their non-ID counterparts. The overall rate of major functional psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders seems to be somewhere between 14.4-22.4%. However, if a wider definition of psychopathology and mental ill-health is considered including depressive and anxiety symptoms, behaviours of concern, and other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder the rate becomes much higher than that in the general population. The risk factors for psychiatric disorders seem similar in both the ID and the non-ID populations. However certain risk factors such as genetic burden, certain comorbidities, psychosocial adversities, and reduced coping capacity are more prevalent among adults with ID.ConclusionThis guideline describes how the main symptoms of major psychiatric disorders may manifest differently in adults with ID and provides recommendations as to how to address these issues in day-to-day clinical practice.

Journal article

Deb S, Limbu B, Unwin G, Woodcock L, Cooper V, Fullerton Met al., 2021, Short-term Psycho-Education for Caregivers To Reduce Over Medication of people with intellectual disabilities (SPECTROM): development and field testing, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1660-4601

People with intellectual disabilities (PwID) are at a higher risk of developing challenging behaviours (CB). Despite the poor evidence for the effectiveness of medications in managing CB, they are used widely among PwID (50–63%). The aims of our study were to develop a training programme, SPECTROM for support staff to help reduce overmedication in PwID and carry out field testing of SPECTROM including a process evaluation. We developed SPECTROM using the Experience-based co-design method that included four focus groups and a one-day co-design event. Twenty trainees received SPECTROM training. We used the Management of Aggression and Violence Attitudes Scale-Revised-Intellectual Disabilities (MAVAS-R-ID) and the Psychotropic knowledge questionnaire. A semi-structured interview and a feasibility questionnaire were used for process evaluation. SPECTROM website contains 14 modules, resources, and face-to-face training. MAVAS-R-ID scores showed change in staff attitude to ‘medication management’ domain was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Psychotropic knowledge questionnaire showed statistically significant post-training improvement in correct responses (p < 0.05). Process evaluation data showed that SPECTROM was acceptable, applicable, practical, and relevant to staff practice, and helped to improve self-reflection, knowledge, and support to PwID. SPECTROM is a useful training that helps to change the support staff’s attitude toward CB and improve their knowledge of psychotropic medications.

Journal article

Deb S, Limbu B, 2021, Randomised controlled trials of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications for people with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis., British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 0007-1250

Background Although used widely the current evidence for the efficacy of antidepressant and antianxiety medications for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is limited and conflicting.Aims We have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RCTs that assessed the effectiveness of these medications in people with ASD.Method We have searched the following databases: Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC, DARE, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Additionally, we have hand-searched 11 relevant journals. We used the Cochrane Risk of Bias and Jadad score to assess the quality of each included RCT. We have carried out a meta-analysis using a random-effects model.Results We have included 15 RCTs (13 on antidepressants and two on antianxiety medications) that included a total of 958 people with ASD. Data showed contradictory findings among the studies with larger studies mostly showing a non-significant difference in outcomes between the treatment and the placebo group. Meta-analysis of pooled Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and Clinical Global Impression Scale data from nine studies (60%) did not show any statistically significant intergroup difference on either of the outcome measures. The adverse effects reported were mild and, in most studies, their rates did not show any significant intergroup difference.Conclusions Given the methodological flaws in the most included studies and contradictory findings it is difficult to draw any definitive conclusion about the effectiveness of either antidepressant or antianxiety medications to treat either ASD core symptoms or associated behaviors. Robust large-scale RCTs are needed in the future to address this issue.

Journal article

Limbu B, Unwin G, Deb SS, 2021, Comprehensive assessment of triggers for behaviours of concern scale (CATS): initial development, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-33, ISSN: 1660-4601

Challenging behaviour displayed by people with intellectual disabilities (ID) can be difficult to manage if caregivers do not understand the reasons for the behaviour. Identifying the contextual variables/triggers for the behaviour is likely to help undertake a functional analysis leading to a person-centred positive behaviour support plan. Currently, a limited number of checklists are available for trigger assessment and none were developed using an interview with the family caregivers. This article describes the development and contents of the comprehensive assessment of triggers for behaviours of concern scale (CATS). CATS was developed in two stages. Stage 1 used a ‘bottom-up’ approach, in which caregivers of adults with ID who show aggressive behaviour were interviewed to identify the triggers for aggression. In stage two, using a ‘top-down’ approach, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to gather items from existing trigger checklists. Trigger items from both stages were combined and the duplicates were removed. The final list in CATS consists of 333 contextual triggers categorised under five main domains and 12 subdomains. CATS can be used by caregivers to identify triggers or antecedents of challenging behaviour. Further work is needed to test its psychometric properties, utility, and acceptability.

Journal article

Deb S, Shankar R, 2021, Challenges to deprescribe psychotropics in people with intellectual disability: The medical view, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, ISSN: 1360-2322

Journal article

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