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J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2009 Jun;19(3):265-74. doi: 10.1089/cap.2008.093.

Aripiprazole in pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified and Asperger's disorder: a 14-week, prospective, open-label study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Section of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine and Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center, James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5200, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of aripiprazole for irritability in pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger's disorder.


This is a 14-week, prospective, open-label investigation of aripiprazole in 25 children and adolescents diagnosed with PDD-NOS or Asperger's disorder. Primary outcome measures included the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) scale and the Irritability subscale of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC-I).


Twenty-five subjects, ages 5-17 years (mean 8.6 years) received a mean final aripiprazole dosage of 7.8 mg/day (range 2.5-15 mg/day). Full-scale intelligence quotient (IQ) scores ranged from 48 to 122 (mean 84). Twenty-two (88%) of 25 subjects were responders in regard to interfering symptoms of irritability, including aggression, self-injury, and tantrums, with a final CGI-I of 1 or 2 (very much or much improved) and a 25% or greater improvement on the ABC-I. The final mean CGI-I was 1.6 (p <or= 0.0001). ABC-I scores ranged from 18 to 43 (mean 29) at baseline, whereas scores at week 14 ranged from 0 to 27 (mean 8.1) (p <or= 0.001). Aripiprazole was well tolerated. Mild extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) were reported in 9 subjects. Age- and sex-normed body mass index (BMI) increased from a mean value of 20.3 at baseline to 21.1 at end point (p <or= 0.04). Prolactin significantly decreased from a mean value of 9.3 at baseline to 2.9 at end point (p <or= 0.0001). No subject exited the study due to a drug-related adverse event.


These preliminary data suggest that aripiprazole may be effective and well tolerated for severe irritability in pediatric patients with PDD-NOS or Asperger's disorder. Larger-scale placebo-controlled studies are needed to elucidate the efficacy and tolerability of aripiprazole in this understudied population.

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