Treatment of autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Autism spectrum disorder is a diagnosis that includes significant social communication deficits/delays along with restricted patterns of interests and behaviors. The prevalence of this diagnosis has increased over the past few decades, and it is unclear whether this is solely attributable to the increased awareness of milder forms of the disorder among medical providers. The current treatment options for the core symptoms of autism are limited to psychosocial therapies, such as applied behavior analysis. Medications have been most effective in treating the associated behavioral symptoms of autism, though studies have examined potential benefits in some of the core symptoms of autism with certain medications, especially the repetitive behaviors often seen with this diagnosis. Risperidone and aripiprazole are currently the only medications FDA approved for symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders, targeting the irritability often seen with this diagnosis. Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder appear to be more susceptible to adverse effects with medications; therefore, initiation with low doses and titrating very slowly is recommended. Some complementary alternative treatments have been researched as possible treatments in autism, though evidence supporting many of these is very limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-41
Number of pages24
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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