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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2004 Sep;11(3):225-8.

Management of hyperactivity and other acting-out problems in patients with autism spectrum disorder.

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Nisonger Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1296, USA.


Hyperactivity/impulsivity, aggression, self injury, and irritability are disruptive behaviors that frequently accompany autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The psychostimulants and atypical antipsychotics have been used with some success to manage hyperactivity, but neither drug group is fully satisfactory and clinical response to the stimulants varies. For other disruptive symptoms (irritability, aggression, self injury), both older antipsychotics and newer atypical antipsychotics have been shown to have helpful effects. Because of potential side effects, atypical antipsychotics should ordinarily be preferred over older agents. A small group of studies suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be helpful in managing symptoms related to aggression, self injury, and the like. A small and largely imperfect literature suggests that beta blockers, mood stabilizers, and alpha-2 agonists may also have some role for treating such symptoms. More research is needed on the management of all of these target symptoms, both for new agents (e.g., atomoxetine) and for established psychoactive medicines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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