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Antipsychotics and Autism Ranking: Mildly Hazardous Unable to rate

Future Research

Summary of Existing Research

There is very strong research evidence to suggest that some atypical antipsychotics (such as aripiprazole and risperidone) may be beneficial for the treatment of aggression, irritability, hyperactivity, self injury, and repetitive behaviour in some children and adults on the autism spectrum.

There is very little high quality research evidence on the effectiveness of most other antipsychotics as a treatment for people on the autism spectrum.

There is evidence of significant side effects of some antipsychotics in some children/adults on the autism spectrum. Those side effects may include weight gain, hyperprolactinaemia (raised prolactin levels) and tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate).

Recommendations for Future Research

Future research should

  • Compare different antipsychotics with each other to determine which is most effective for the treatment of which issues in which individuals on the autism spectrum. 
  • Investigate the optimal dosage and length of treatment for different individuals on the autism spectrum.
  • Investigate the long-term effects of antipsychotics in children and young people and adults on the autism spectrum ensuring that any side effects are monitored carefully.

Further research is also required to fully evaluate the role of antipsychotics in managing challenging behaviour in people with autism. Such research should include comparative studies to determine which antipsychotics are most effective for the treatment of which issues and in which individuals on the autism spectrum

Updated
01 Nov 2017
Last Review
01 Nov 2016
Next Review
01 Nov 2019