Medications and Autism

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What are medications?

Medications (also known as pharmaceutical drugs, medicines, or medicaments) can be loosely defined as chemical substances intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease. Some of these substances, such as piracetam, are also sometimes taken as nutritional supplements.

There are various ways in which medications can be classified, such as by chemical properties, mode or route of administration, biological system affected, or therapeutic effects.

We have categorised them by the principal biological system affected because most medications designed to help individuals with autism target the central nervous system.

All of the drugs listed on this page have been used to treat people on the autism spectrum.

Central Nervous System

These medications affect the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain plays a central role in the control of most bodily functions, including awareness, movements, sensations, thoughts, speech, and memory. The spinal cord carries signals between the brain and nerves in the rest of the body.

  • Alcohol Dependence such as Acamprosate
  • Anoretics/Anorexigenics such as Fenfluramine
  • Antianxiety Drugs / Anxiolytics such as Buspirone
  • Anticonvulsants such as Carbamazepine
  • Antidepressants:
    • Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI) such as Venlafaxine
    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) such as Citalopram
    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Enhancers (SSRE) such as Tianeptine
    • Tetracyclics such as Mirtazapine
    • Tricyclics such as Desipramine
  • Anti-Emitics such as Metoclopramide
  • Antipsychotics
    • Atypical anti-psychotics such as Risperidone
    • Conventional/typical antipsychotics such as Haloperidol
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors such as Donepezil
  • Mood stabilisers such as Lithium
  • NMDA Receptor Antagonists such as Memantine
  • Opioid Antagonists such as Naltrexone
  • Dopamine Receptor Agonists such as Levodopa
  • Selective Noradrenaline Re-Uptake Inhibitor such as Atomoxetine
  • Stimulant Medications such as Methylphenidate
  • Tremors,choreas and Tics such as Piracetam

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

These medications affect the cardiovascular system and respiratory systems. The cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system includes the heart, blood vessels and blood. The respiratory system includes the nose, mouth, sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. The two systems are responsible for ensuring the body receives an adequate supply of oxygen and that carbon-dioxide is expelled from the body.

  • Antihistamines such as Cyproheptadine
  • Antihypertensives such as
    • Adrenergic Agonists such as Clonidine
    • Adrenergic Antagonists such as Propranolol
    • Calcium Channel Blockers such as Nimodipine
  • Diuretics such as Bumetanide

More on Cardiovascular and Respiratory Medications

Endochrine System

These medications affect the endocrine system, which is made up of various glands such as the hypothalamus gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, pineal gland etc.. Glands produce and secrete hormones - chemical substances that regulate the body's growth, metabolism (the physical and chemical processes of the body), and sexual development and function.

  • Hormones such as Melatonin, Oxytocin, Secretin
  • Hypoglycemic Agents such as Pioglitazone
  • Steroids such as Prednisone

More on Endochrine System Medications

Immunology and Infection

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body against disease and infections.

  • Antibiotics such as Vancomycin
  • Antifungals such as Fluconazole
  • Immune Globulins

More on Immunology and Infection Medications

More Information

Please see Publications on Medications and Autism

Related Pages

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25 Oct 2017