Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 342–351 | Cite as

Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Enrolled in a National Registry, 2007–2008

  • Rebecca E. Rosenberg
  • David S. Mandell
  • Janet E. Farmer
  • J. Kiely Law
  • Alison R. Marvin
  • Paul A. Law
Original Paper


Patterns of current psychotropic medication use among 5,181 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) enrolled in a Web-based registry were examined. Overall, 35% used at least one psychotropic medication, most commonly stimulants, neuroleptics, and/or antidepressants. Those who were uninsured or exclusively privately insured were less likely to use ≥3 medications than were those insured by Medicaid. Psychiatrists and neurologists prescribed the majority of psychotropic medications. In multivariate analysis, older age, presence of intellectual disability or psychiatric comorbidity, and residing in a poorer county or in the South or Midwest regions of the United States increased the odds of psychotropic medication use. Factors external to clinical presentation likely affect odds of psychotropic medication use among children with ASD.


Autism Asperger syndrome Pervasive developmental disorder Medication Health disparity 



This study was supported by Autism Speaks. The funder had no role in determining content. We thank Ms. Teresa Foden for proofreading the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of IAN families, without which this research would not be possible.

Supplementary material

10803_2009_878_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
(DOC 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca E. Rosenberg
    • 1
  • David S. Mandell
    • 3
  • Janet E. Farmer
    • 4
  • J. Kiely Law
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alison R. Marvin
    • 1
  • Paul A. Law
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical InformaticsKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Center for Mental Health Policy and Services ResearchUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental DisordersUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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