Buspirone in the Management of Anxiety and Irritability in Children With Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Results of an Open-Label Study

Background: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of buspirone in the management of anxiety and irritability in children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).

Method: Twenty-two subjects, 6 to 17 years old, with DSM-III-R diagnosed PDD-NOS (N=20) or autistic disorder (N=2), were included. They were treated with buspirone in dosages ranging from 15 to 45 mg/day in an open-label trial lasting 6 to 8 weeks. Responders continued buspirone treatment and were followed up for up to 12 months.

Results: Nine subjects had a marked therapeutic response and 7 subjects a moderate response on the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale after 6 to 8 weeks of treatment. Side effects were minimal, except for 1 patient who developed abnormal involuntary movements.

Conclusion: These results suggest that buspirone may be useful for treating symptoms of anxiety and irritability in children with PDD.

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(2):56-59