The role of antipsychotics in the management of behavioural symptoms in children and adolescents with autism.

Autistic disorder or autism is a serious childhood-onset disorder that affects all areas of development, particularly in the areas of language, communication and reciprocal social interaction. Patients with autistic disorder typically demonstrate repetitiveness and a restricted repertoire of behaviour. Additionally, they also have a number of disruptive symptoms that may be reduced by drug treatment, including severe tantrums, hyperactivity and lability. Antipsychotic drugs are the agents that are the most critically studied as treatments for reducing symptoms. Both first- and second-generation antipsychotics have shown safety and efficacy in short- and long-term studies in autism. The most studied antipsychotic drugs include haloperidol and risperidone, although studies of other antipsychotic drugs are underway. Safety concerns associated with treatment include the risk of drug-related dyskinesias, which is greater with the first-generation drugs, and the risk of weight gain and associated metabolic problems (i.e. increases in glucose and lipids), which is greater with second-generation agents. Prescription of antipsychotic drugs requires careful monitoring because of these safety risks and the likelihood of long-term use. Drug administration should be initiated at low dosages and subsequent dosage changes should be based on tolerability and clinical response.
AuthorsRichard P Malone, Ayesha Waheed
JournalDrugs (Drugs) Vol. 69 Issue 5 Pg. 535-48 ( 2009) ISSN: 0012-6667 [Print] New Zealand
PMID19368416 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents (adverse effects, pharmacology, therapeutic use)
  • Autistic Disorder (drug therapy, physiopathology)
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Monitoring (methods)
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced
  • Humans

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