Pharmacologic Treatment of Behavioral Symptoms in Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders

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Autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) are associated with various dysfunctional and problematic behaviors, in addition to the core features of language and social skills dysfunction that define these conditions. Although there is currently no pharmacologic cure for the core features of PDDs, some of the behavioral symptoms may be treated pharmacologically. In addition to relieving some of the daily stress in the lives of patients and their families, improvement of these behavioral symptoms, which include hyperactivity, aggression, tantrums, and self-injury, removes some of the hindrances to other rehabilitative efforts. This article discusses the efficacy and tolerability of various medications and alternative interventions in addressing the symptoms of autism and other PDDs.

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(suppl 10):26-31