Paradoxical reactions elicited by diazepam in children with classic autism

Funct Neurol. 1987 Jul-Sep;2(3):355-61.


Administration of diazepam (10 mg i.m.) to seven children (two girls and five boys) affected by infantile autism elicited paradoxical behavioural responses. Mainly, anxiogenic effect, unsocialized aggressive behaviour and explosive aggression were dramatically increased in comparison with the same symptoms present before and after treatment. The results show for the first time that benzodiazepines may elicit paradoxical behavioural response in autistic children. The possible involvement of an altered function at the level of GABA/benzodiazepine receptor complex is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiopathology
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Diazepam / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Diazepam