Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pharmacotherapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Current evidence-based pharmacotherapy options in children with ASD are very limited, and many have substantial adverse events. Clinicians should use pharmacotherapy as a part of comprehensive treatment, and judiciously weigh risks and benefits. New pharmacotherapy options for core symptoms as well as co-occurring symptoms of ASD are in urgent need...

Antipsychotics treatment, particularly risperidone and aripiprazole, are effective in reducing irritability, stereotypy and hyperactivity, and MPH is effective in improving ADHD symptoms. Atomoxetine and alpha-2 agonists appear effective in reducing ADHD symptoms. SSRIs are not effective in improving restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior in children with ASD, and may lead to activating adverse events. Efficacy of AED is inconclusive. Even with the medications with evidence-based efficacy, their response rates and tolerability tend to be less favorable than data seen in typically developing children with similar symptoms. Therefore, clinicians should carefully weigh the risk/benefit ratio, closely monitor adverse events and periodically re-assess needs for continued pharmacotherapy for the target symptoms.

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