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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-37

Medication in autism

Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Sherab Tsheringla
Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 002, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-4651.200308

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Autism affects up to 1 in 250 children. Early intervention programs combining behavioral and developmental training are the current standard of care. In this article, the role of medication in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is discussed. We highlight the key symptoms that can be targeted with medication-based treatments. An approach to treatment is based on available guidelines which includes clinical assessments, addressing comorbid conditions, planning investigations prior to starting pharmacotherapy, choosing suitable pharmacological agents, and subsequent monitoring while on medication. Risperidone and aripiprazole continue to be the only approved medications. Continued support and counseling of caregivers after starting medication includes discussions on monitoring behavioral change along with any adverse effect and discussing further referral when needed. Primary care physicians in India are an important resource in the absence of developed systems for the management of developmental disabilities. Early referral to specialists for initial diagnosis and developmental interventions cannot be overemphasized. However, a community-based follow-up model for continued care of children and adolescents with ASD that includes primary care physicians can be implemented.

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