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Autism Spectrum Disorder Medications

Doctors will often use autism spectrum disorder medications to treat behavioral problems such as aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums. Often, the autism spectrum disorder medications used have been developed to treat similar symptoms in other disorders. Autism spectrum disorder medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and stimulants.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Medications: An Overview

Medications are often used to treat behavioral problems, such as aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums that keep the person with autism spectrum disorder from functioning more effectively at home or school.
The autism spectrum disorder medications used are those that have been developed to treat similar symptoms in other disorders. Many of these medications are prescribed "off-label." This means they have not been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children, but the doctor prescribes the medications if he or she feels they are appropriate for your child.
A child with autism spectrum disorder may not respond in the same way to medications as typically developing children. It is important that parents work with a doctor who has experience with children with autism. A child should be monitored closely while taking a medication. The doctor will prescribe the lowest dose possible to be effective.
Ask the doctor about any side effects the medication may have and keep a record of how your child responds to the medication. It will be helpful to read the "patient insert" that comes with your child's medication. Some people keep the patient inserts in a small notebook to be used as a reference. This is most useful when several medications are prescribed.
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