Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 14 (3), 263-79

Pharmacologic Treatments for the Behavioral Symptoms Associated With Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Lifespan

Affiliations
Review

Pharmacologic Treatments for the Behavioral Symptoms Associated With Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Lifespan

Carolyn A Doyle et al. Dialogues Clin Neurosci.

Abstract

This review outlines pharmacologic treatments for the behavioral symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children, adolescents, and adults. Symptom domains include repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, irritability and aggression, hyperactivity and inattention, and social impairment. Medications covered include serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), mirtazapine, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, atomoxetine, α-2 agonists, D-cycloserine, and memantine. Overall, SRIs are less efficacious and more poorly tolerated in children with ASDs than in adults. Antipsychotics are the most efficacious drugs for the treatment of irritability in ASDs, and may be useful in the treatment of other symptoms. Psychostimulants demonstrate some benefit for the treatment of hyperactivity and inattention in individuals with ASDs, but are less efficacious and associated with more adverse effects compared with individuals with ADHD. D-cycloserine and memantine appear helpful in the treatment of social impairment, although further research is needed.

Keywords: autism; autism spectrum disorder; autistic disorder; pervasive developmental disorder; treatment.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 24 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. American Psychiatrie Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed, Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000
    1. Lecavalier L. Behavioral and emotional problems in young people with pervasive developmental disorders: relative prevalence, effects of subject characteristics, and empirical classification. J Autism Dev Disord. 2006;36:1101–1114. - PubMed
    1. Gadow KD., Sverd J. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, chronic tic disorder, and methylphenidate. Adv Neurol. 2006;99:197–207. - PubMed
    1. Goldstein S., Schwebach AJ. The comorbidity of pervasive developmental disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: results of a retrospective chart review. J Autism Dev Disord. 2004;34:329–339. - PubMed
    1. Schain RJ., Freedman DX. Studies on 5-hydroxyindole metabolism in autistic and other mentally retarded children. J Pediatr. 1961;58:315–320. - PubMed

Publication types

MeSH terms

Substances

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback