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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2001 Apr;2(4):587-600.

Pharmacotherapeutic management of autism.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Indaiana University School of Medicine, USA.


There are no medications that are specifically marketed for the treatment of autism. There does exist, however, an extensive body of literature describing both open-label and controlled studies of medications in the treatment of both children and adults with autism. Some of the better-studied medications (including haloperidol and risperidone) are often efficacious in treating associated symptoms of autism but can also cause unacceptable adverse effects. Early studies of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors appear promising but may not be indicated for all age groups. Small, controlled studies of methylphenidate and clonidine indicate a possible role for these medications in the treatment of hyperactivity in autism. No medications have been proven to be efficacious in the treatment of the core social or communication impairment seen in autism. Current pharmacological management is best aimed at target symptoms that have been demonstrated to respond to medication in treatment studies.

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