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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998 Jul;55(7):633-41.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of risperidone in adults with autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202-5200, USA. cmcdougl@iumc.iupui.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neurobiological research has implicated the dopamine and serotonin systems in the pathogenesis of autism. Open-label reports suggest that the serotonin2A-dopamine D2 antagonist risperidone may be safe and effective in reducing the interfering symptoms of patients with autism.

METHODS:

Thirty-one adults (age [mean+/-SD], 28.1+/-7.3 years) with autistic disorder (n=17) or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (n=14) participated in a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of risperidone. Patients treated with placebo subsequently received a 12-week open-label trial of risperidone.

RESULTS:

For persons completing the study, 8 (57%) of 14 patients treated with risperidone were categorized as responders (daily dose [mean+/-SD], 2.9+/-1.4 mg) compared with none of 16 in the placebo group (P<.002). Risperidone was superior to placebo in reducing repetitive behavior (P<.001), aggression (P<.001), anxiety or nervousness (P<.02), depression (P<.03), irritability (P<.01), and the overall behavioral symptoms of autism (P<.02). Objective, measurable change in social behavior and language did not occur. Nine (60%) of 15 patients who received treatment with open-label risperidone following the double-blind placebo phase responded. Other than mild, transient sedation, risperidone was well tolerated, with no evidence of extrapyramidal effects, cardiac events, or seizures.

CONCLUSION:

Risperidone is more effective than placebo in the short-term treatment of symptoms of autism in adults.

Comment in

  • The irony of autism. [Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998]
PMID:
9672054
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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