A systematic review of interventions used to treat catatonic symptoms in people with autistic spectrum disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Sep;44(9):2127-36. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2085-y.


A systematic review was conducted to examine the efficacy of a range of treatments for autistic catatonia. The review identified 22 relevant papers, reporting a total of 28 cases including both adult and paediatric patients. Treatment methods included electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), medication, behavioural and sensory interventions. Quality assessment found the standard of the existing literature to be generally poor, with particular limitations in treatment description and outcome measurement. There is some limited evidence to support the use of ECT, high dose lorazepam and behavioural interventions for people with autistic catatonia. However, there is a need for controlled, high-quality trials. Reporting of side effects and adverse events should also be improved, in order to better evaluate the safety of these treatments.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catatonia / physiopathology
  • Catatonia / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male