Send to

Choose Destination
J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2002 Winter;12(4):311-21.

Prevalence and patterns of use of psychoactive medicines in individuals with autism in the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Author information

The Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, The Ohio State University, Columus, Ohio 43210, USA.


The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and patterns of psychoactive and over-the-counter medicines in a large cohort of individuals with autism. We conducted a mail survey of 3,228 families that are members of the Autism Society of North Carolina. This is one of the largest chapters of the Autism Society of America. The survey form addressed current medicines used, side effects, demographic characteristics, and medical conditions. Some 1,538 member families within the society (48%) responded to the survey. In all, 703 (45.7%) individuals with autism were taking psychotropic drugs, 191 (12.4%) antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and 86 (5.7%) supplements for autism. The total number taking psychotropic, antiepileptic, or vitamin treatments was 816 (53.1%). Antidepressants (taken by 21.7% of the sample), antipsychotics (16.8%), and stimulants (13.9%) were the most commonly prescribed agents. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine factors associated with treatment. Greater age, more severe autism and mental retardation, and more restricted housing were often associated with greater use of psychoactive agents. These findings suggest that individuals with autism are a frequently medicated group, although the empirical research support for most agents being used is still very limited.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center