What is the role of medications in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Answer

The established therapies for autistic disorder are nonpharmacologic. These therapies may include behavioral, educational, and psychological treatment. No pharmacologic agent is effective in the treatment of the core behavioral manifestations of autistic disorder. However, medication may be effective in the treatment of comorbid disorders, including self-injurious behaviors and movement disorders.

Simultaneous treatment with two or more antipsychotics may be beneficial to treat agitation/irritability, physical aggression, and self-injurious behaviors of patients with ASD, particularly moderately to severely ill males with autism and intellectual disability. Generally these treatment regimens are well tolerated without serious adverse events. [182]


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