Asperger's syndrome: diagnosis, comorbidity and therapy

Expert Rev Neurother. 2015 Mar;15(3):281-93. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2015.1009898. Epub 2015 Feb 6.

Abstract

Asperger's syndrome (AS), a behavioral disorder that is related to autism, is associated with abnormal social functioning and repetitive behaviors but not with a decrease in intelligence or linguistic functionality. This article reviews the clinical diagnosis of AS and discusses the comorbid disorders that may be present with AS, as well as the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of pharmacotherapies given to AS patients, as reported in preclinical and clinical studies. AS may be present with several comorbid disorders including: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and Tourette's syndrome. The difficulty in distinguishing AS from autism results in treating the comorbid disorder symptoms, rather than treating the symptoms of AS. Accordingly, there is a great need to further understand the psychobiology of AS and its association with other disorders, which should expand the pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapeutic options and improve the quality of life for AS patients.

Keywords: Asperger’s syndrome; autistic spectrum disorders; cognitive behavioral therapy; comorbid disorders; pharmacotherapy; symptoms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Asperger Syndrome / complications
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Asperger Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*

Substances

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants