A proposed anti-maladaptive aggression agent classification: improving our approach to treating impulsive aggression

Adelaide S. Robb, Stefan Schwabe, Gianpiera Ceresoli-Borroni, Azmi Nasser, Chungping Yu, Ronald Marcus, Shawn A. Candler, Robert L. Findling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Proper drug categorization enables clinicians to readily identify the agents most appropriate for patients in need. Currently, patients with maladaptive aggression do not all always fall into a single existing diagnostic or treatment category. Such is the case for those with impulsive aggression (IA). IA is an associated feature of numerous neuropsychiatric disorders, and can be described as eruptive, aggressive behavior or a ‘short fuse’. Although agents from a broad spectrum of drug classes have been used to treat maladaptive aggression, few have been tested distinctly in patients with IA, and there is no drug specifically indicated by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for IA. Further, current treatments often fail to sufficiently treat IA symptomatology. These issues create an unclear and inadequate treatment path for patients. Here we will propose the establishment of a class of anti-maladaptive aggression agents to begin addressing this clinical issue. The development of such a class would unify the various drugs currently used to treat maladaptive aggression and streamline the treatment approach towards IA. As an important case example of the range of candidate drugs that could fit into a new anti-maladaptive aggression agent category, we will review an investigational IA pharmacotherapy. SPN-810 (extended-release molindone) is currently being investigated as a novel treatment for children with IA and ADHD. Based on these studies we will review how SPN-810 may be well suited for a new, anti-maladaptive aggression drug class and more precisely, a proposed subgroup of IA modulators. The goal of this review is to begin improving the identification of and therapeutic approach for maladaptive aggression as well as IA through more precise anti-maladaptive aggression agent categorization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalPostgraduate medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2019


  • ADHD
  • Impulsive aggression
  • anti-maladaptive aggression agents
  • drug classification
  • impulsive aggression modulators
  • maladaptive aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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