Autism Medication

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Below is a list of drugs and autism medication commonly used to treat certain symptoms in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as provided by the National Institutes of Health. Use the search feature above to quickly find the autism medication you're looking for.

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Children's Autism Medication Chart

TRADE NAME GENERIC NAME APPROVED AGE
Stimulant Medications
Adderall amphetamine 3 and older
Adderall XR amphetamine (extended release) 6 and older
Concerta methylphenidate (long acting) 6 and older
Cylert* pemoline 6 and older
Dexedrine dextroamphetamine 3 and older
Dextrostat dextroamphetamine 3 and older
Focalin dexmethylphenidate 6 and older
Metadate ER methylphenidate (extended release) 6 and older
Ritalin methylphenidate 6 and older
Non-stimulant for ADHD
Strattera atomoxetine 6 and older
*Because of its potential for serious side effects affecting the liver, Cylert should not ordinarily be considered as first-line drug therapy for ADHD.
Antidepressant and Antianxiety Medications
Anafranil clomipramine 10 and older (for OCD)
BuSpar buspirone 18 and older
Effexor venlafaxine 18 and older
Luvox (SSRI) fluvoxamine 8 and older (for OCD)
Paxil (SSRI) paroxetine 18 and older
Prozac (SSRI) fluoxetine 18 and older
Serzone (SSRI) nefazodone 18 and older
Sinequan doxepin 12 and older
Tofranil imipramine 6 and older (for bedwetting)
Wellbutrin bupropion 18 and older
Zoloft (SSRI) sertraline 6 and older (for OCD)
*Antipsychotic Medications
Clozaril (atypical) clozapine 18 and older
Haldol haloperidol 3 and older
Risperdal* (atypical) risperidone 18 and older
Seroquel (atypical) quetiapine 18 and older
Mellaril thioridazine 2 and older
Zyprexa (atypical) olanzapine 18 and older
Orap pimozide 12 and older (for Tourette's syndrome—Data for age 2 and older indicate similar safety profile)
Mood Stabilizing Medications
Cibalith-S lithium citrate 12 and older
Depakote valproic acid 2 and older (for seizures)
Eskalith lithium carbonate 12 and older
Lithobid lithium carbonate 12 and older
Tegretol carbamazepine any age (for seizures)


*The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Risperdal as autism medication to treat irritability in autistic children and adolescents. This is the first time the FDA approved a drug to treat behavior-related problems associated with autism in children. The drug can be used to treat aggression, deliberate self-injury and temper tantrums. Risperdal is considered an atypical antipsychotic drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. in Beerse, Belgium.



Recent research found another atypical antipsychotic drug called Abilify or Aripiprazole to be effective for reducing aggression, agitation and self-injury in a small group of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Stigler et al., 2004).

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References: Children's Autism Medication Chart

1. Fenton WS. Prevalence of spontaneous dyskinesia in schizophrenia. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2000; 62 (suppl 4): 10-14.

2. Bowden CL, Calabrese JR, McElroy SL, Gyulai L, Wassef A, Petty F, et al. For the Divalproex Maintenance Study Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled 12-month trial of divalproex and lithium in treatment of outpatients with bipolar I disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2000; 57(5): 481-489.

3. Vainionpää LK, Rättyä J, Knip M, Tapanainen JS, Pakarinen AJ, Lanning P, et al. Valproate-induced hyperandrogenism during pubertal maturation in girls with epilepsy. Annals of Neurology, 1999; 45(4): 444-450.

4. Soames JC. Valproate treatment and the risk of hyperandrogenism and polycystic ovaries. Bipolar Disorder, 2000; 2(1): 37-41.

5. Thase ME, and Sachs GS. Bipolar depression: Pharmacotherapy and related therapeutic strategies. Biological Psychiatry, 2000; 48(6): 558-572.

6. Department of Health and Human Services. 1999. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institute of Mental Health.

7. Altshuler LL, Cohen L, Szuba MP, Burt VK, Gitlin M, and Mintz J. Pharmacologic management of psychiatric illness during pregnancy: Dilemmas and guidelines. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1996; 153(5): 592-606.

8. Physicians' Desk Reference, 54th edition. Montavale, NJ: Medical Economics Data Production Co. 2000.



This is the 4th edition of Medications. It was revised by Margaret Strock, staff member in the Science Writing Team, Public Information and Communications Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Scientific review was provided by Wayne Fenton, M.D., Henry Haigler, Ph.D., Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., Matthew Rudorfer, M.D., and Benedetto Vitiello, M.D. Editorial assistance was provided by Lisa Alberts and Ruth Dubois.


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