Which medications in the drug class SSRI Antidepressants are used in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

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

SSRIs are widely prescribed for children with autism or a related condition. These agents are used off-label to help with intractable repetitive behaviors, such as compulsion.

Fluoxetine (Prozac)

Fluoxetine selectively inhibits presynaptic serotonin reuptake, with minimal or no effect on the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.

Citalopram (Celexa)

Citalopram enhances serotonin activity by selective reuptake inhibition of serotonin at the neuronal membrane. Dose-dependent QT prolongation has been reported with citalopram. [149, 150] . This agent is contraindicated in patients with congenital long QT syndrome.

Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Escitalopram is an S-enantiomer of citalopram. The mechanism of action is thought to be potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS), resulting from the inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin.

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