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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 1592–1605 | Cite as

Psychotropic Medications in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review and Synthesis for Evidence-Based Practice

  • Matthew Siegel
  • Amy A. Beaulieu
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents a systematic review, rating and synthesis of the empirical evidence for the use of psychotropic medications in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Thirty-three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in peer-reviewed journals qualified for inclusion and were coded and analyzed using a systematic evaluative method specific to autism research (Reichow et al. in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 38:1311–1319, 2008). Results are presented by agent and primary target symptom(s). The findings suggest established evidence for relatively few agents, with preliminary and promising evidence for a larger group. Challenges and opportunities in the developing field of ASD psychopharmacology are identified, and recommendations for further research are provided.

Keywords

Autism Evidence base Pharmacology Review Trials 

Notes

Acknowledgment

This study developed from initial work by the Maine Children’s Services Evidence-Based Practice Advisory Committee, a stakeholder group that included consumers and parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We thank this group for identification of the Evaluative Method (Reichow et al. 2008) framework and the preliminary literature search and ratings. The authors also wish to thank Brian Kim, Katherine Doyle, Briana Milligan, B.A., Trish Knight, Lindsey Tweed, M.D., M.P.H., and Lawrence Scahill, M.S.N, Ph.D. for their substantial contributions to this work. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Pond Family Foundation and through a Cooperative Agreement between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Southern Maine. The opinions and statements expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of these funders.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spring Harbor Hospital, Maine Medical CenterTufts University School of MedicineWestbrookUSA
  2. 2.Muskie School of Public ServiceUniversity of Southern MaineAugustaUSA

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