Volume 22, Issue 2 (1993)
Pharmacotherapy in Mental Retardation and Autism
Benjamin L. Handen
This article reviews studies that have examined the effects of pharmacological interventions for children with mental retardation and autism. It is important to note that medications are not prescribed to treat mental retardation or autism per se, but to treat the behavioral and learning difficulties some individuals with mental retardation or autism may experience. Information regarding stimulants, neuroleptics, anticonvulsants, antianxiety drugs, and antidepressant drugs is presented and discussed. Studies regarding the efficacy of various drugs - as measured by their effects on laboratory and clinical measures of activity level, self-injurious behavior, and stereotypies - are briefly discussed. Information regarding dose levels, positive effects, and possible negative side effects also is presented. Stimulants are found to have the greatest beneficial effects overall, although other classes of drugs are used singly or in combination, to effect desired changes in behavior for individuals with mental retardation or autism.
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