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Antidepressants and Autism Ranking: Mildly Hazardous Unable to rate

Future Research

Summary of Existing Research

There is insufficient high quality research evidence to determine if antidepressants have any effect on the core features of autism, such as restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities.

There is insufficient high quality research evidence to determine if antidepressants have any effect on mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, in people on the autism spectrum.

There is insufficient high quality research evidence to determine if antidepressants have any effect on other issues, such as challenging behaviours, in people on the autism spectrum.

There is evidence of significant side effects of some antidepressants in some people, including in some individuals on the autism spectrum. Those side effects may include decreased alertness, sexual problems, diabetes, SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion), serotonin syndrome, suicidal feelings, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and hypomania or mania.

Recommendations for Future Research

Future research should

  • determine which antidepressants are effective for the treatment of which issues in which individuals on the autism spectrum
  • compare antidepressants with other, non-medicinal interventions designed to tackle depression, anxiety and other issues in people on the autism spectrum
  • investigate the optimal dosage and length of treatment for different individuals, while also investigating any long-term effects.
Updated
31 Oct 2017
Last Review
01 Jan 2017
Next Review
01 Jan 2020