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Drug Research Lacking for Autistic Teens

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Timothy Haren5 years ago

While the number of children with autism grows each year, research on drugs for teens and young adults is lacking, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders impair children’s social development and communication, sometimes leading to aggression, irritability and outbursts. Autism can cause self-abusive and repetitive movements, according to U.S. News and World Report. While some children improve with age, most do not, and no cure for autism has been discovered.

Growing Up with Autism

  • About 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder today.
  • Medications can treat some of the symptoms and behaviors associated with autism, but do not cure the main symptoms of the disorder.
  • Educational and behavioral treatments exist, but like autism drugs, research for teens and young adults is lacking.
Autism Medications

Autism medications like risperidone and aripiprazole are used to treat aggression and agitation, but do not address repetitive behaviors and other social disorders. While there is evidence that medications work for some of these disorders, they do not address the cause of autism, and require more research. In reviewing clinical trials from 1980 to 2011,  researchers found only 8 studies conducted on children with autism ages 13 to 30, according to U.S. News and World Report.

What Parents Can Do

Information provided by U.S. News and World Report:

  • Behavioral and educational interventions can be used to treat autism, though more study is needed in older children.
  • Parents should contact clinicians to become informed of the risks and benefits of autism spectrum disorder drugs.
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