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Paediatr Drugs. 2015 Apr;17(2):115-24. doi: 10.1007/s40272-014-0106-0.

Pharmacogenomic medicine in autism: challenges and opportunities.

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Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA,


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 68 children in the US and is distinguished by core deficits in social interactions. Developing pharmacologic treatments for ASD is complicated by clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Although pharmacological treatments have not been shown to be effective in treating the core symptoms of ASD (i.e., social deficits), there is evidence that the burden of emotional and behavioral problems can be reduced with pharmacotherapy. Numerous randomized clinical trials of treatments for the core ASD deficits have been conducted; however, most have provided inconclusive results due to the substantial variation in treatment response. Variation also exists in the considerable metabolic side effects of many of the current treatments. Some of this variation may be explained by differences in the underlying genetic pathways. Exploiting the link between genetic heterogeneity and clinical variation associated with behavioral problems may provide an opportunity for targeted treatment of ASD. In this review, we summarize the recent findings from pharmacogenomics studies of ASD and suggest further how understanding how genetic liability modifies the effect of drugs may present an opportunity to address the challenges of personalized medicine in autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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