Autism Spectrum Disorder (In Children and Adults)

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Take the Autism Quiz

Quick GuideAutism Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Autism Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What are the common medications used to treat the symptoms of autism?

Several medications have been tried or are being evaluated for the treatment of autism. No medication has consistently proven to be of benefit for either curing or comprehensively managing autism in closely controlled clinical trials.

In the past, a piece on a television news show prompted a great deal of interest in the hormone secretin as a treatment for autism. A child with autism with chronic gastrointestinal complaints showed dramatic improvement following some routine testing performed by a gastroenterologist during which a small dose of secretin was administered. The family and their physicians felt that the secretin may have resulted in the improvement in the symptoms of autism. Many physicians began prescribing secretin, which can be expensive. However, studies published appear to completely refute the claim that secretin treatment benefits autistic patients. This example underscores the importance of good clinical trials to determine whether a drug will help patients with autism before it is widely used.

Some medications have been found to help address some symptoms that may present in autism. For example, haloperidol (Haldol) and aripiprazole (Abilify) are thought to help treat aggression and methylphenidate has been determined to be helpful in addressing hyperactivity and other symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in persons with autism. Risperidone (Risperdal) has been found to be quite helpful in many people whose autistic symptoms include odd, repetitive behaviors (stereotypies), hyperactivity, irritability, throwing tantrums, being aggressive towards others, and of injuring oneself.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2015
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Autism and Communication - Symptoms

    What were the symptoms of your child's autism initially?

    Post View 5 Comments
  • Autism - Experience

    Please describe your experience with autism.

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Types

    What type of autism were you or your child diagnosed with? Please discuss your experience.

    Post
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Impact on Family

    In what ways has autism affected your family?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Causes

    What do you believe is the cause of your child's autism?

    Post
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Vaccines

    Did concern about autism cause you to withhold vaccinating your child? Briefly, please share your story.

    Post
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Diet and Supplements

    What dietary changes have you made in the treatment of your autistic child?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors