While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, psychopharmacologic agents are often used with behavioral and educational approaches to treat its comorbid symptoms of hyperactivity, irritability, and aggression. Studies suggest that at least 50% of persons with autism spectrum disorder receive psychotropic medications during their life span. This selective review examines recent studies about the use of psychotropic medications in persons with autism spectrum disorder. The aim was to focus on randomized controlled trials conducted from 1990 to 2010 on this topic. A comprehensive literature search was performed using PubMed and Cochrane databases. Out of 105 studies identified for the review, only 24 were randomized controlled trials. Thus, despite the common use of these medications in autism spectrum disorder, more controlled studies are needed to determine their long-term efficacy and safety.
Keywords: autism; comorbidity; psychopharmacology.