Psychopharmacology

, Volume 223, Issue 3, pp 357–360

Aripiprazole in the treatment of challenging behaviour in adults with autism spectrum disorder

  • Iain Jordan
  • Dene Robertson
  • Marco Catani
  • Michael Craig
  • Declan Murphy
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-012-2723-z

Cite this article as:
Jordan, I., Robertson, D., Catani, M. et al. Psychopharmacology (2012) 223: 357. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2723-z

Abstract

Background

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with repetitive behaviours and often also with hyperactivity, aggression, self-injurious behaviour, irritability and lability of mood. There is emerging evidence that aripiprazole, an antipsychotic with partial agonist dopaminergic effect, may be effective in the treatment of these challenging behaviours. Nevertheless, there is little evidence for their efficacy in adults with ASD.

Objectives

The aim of this article is to present preliminary data on the use of aripiprazole in the treatment of challenging behaviour in the setting of ASD.

Methods

We present a consecutive series of five inpatients of normal intelligence with challenging behaviour associated with ASD, diagnosed according to ICD-10 criteria, which was resistant to treatment with other medical and behavioural interventions and which was treated with aripiprazole.

Results

Four out of five patients were classified as “much improved” or “very much improved” according to the Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale. Aripiprazole caused akathisia, at a dose of 30 mg in the one patient who was not classified as a responder but was otherwise well tolerated.

Conclusions

This is the first case series of adults with ASD presenting with challenging behaviour who have been treated with aripiprazole. While the results are promising, controlled trials are required to confirm the findings.

Keywords

AutismAutism spectrum disordersBehavioural disordersAntipsychoticsAripiprazoleNeuropsychiatry

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain Jordan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dene Robertson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marco Catani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Craig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Declan Murphy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental ScienceInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK
  2. 2.Behavioural Disorders UnitBethlem Royal HospitalBeckenhamUK