Psychopharmacological Treatment of Autism

Kelly Blankenship, Craig A. Erickson, Kimberly A. Stigler, David J. Posey and Christopher J. McDougle

in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965212 | DOI:
Psychopharmacological Treatment of Autism

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  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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This chapter discusses pharmacologic treatment to target symptoms associated with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. The large majority of the treatment trials have focused on one target symptom at a time. Utilizing this approach, methylphenidate and alpha 2 adrenergic agonists have been shown to be efficacious, to some extent, for inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. The antipsychotics haloperidol, risperidone, and aripiprazole have proven to be even more effective for aggression and irritability. Improvement in interfering stereotypical and repetitive behaviors with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors has been demonstrated to be affected by development, with adults showing more improvement and less adverse events than children. Preliminary work with drugs that affect glutamate function, such as memantine, holds promise for treating aspects of social impairment.

Chapter.  16258 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience

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