Pharmacotherapy for hyperactivity in children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders
J Autism Dev Disord
We reviewed pharmacological treatments used in children with autism and PDD-NOS who present with hyperactive symptoms. Some 41 studies were identified from the following drug categories: antipsychotics (n = 13), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (n = 3), antianxiety drugs (n = 4), psychostimulants (n = 10), alpha adrenergic agonists (n = 2), opiate blockers (n = 7), and other drugs (n = 2). Empirical evidence for significant reductions in hyperactive symptoms was strongest for the antipsychotics, psychostimulants, and naltrexone. Most studies have focused on the reduction of overactivity, and more emphasis needs to be placed on distractibility and attentional variables. A theoretical model was proposed in which participants' attentional performance may be used to predict clinical response to psychostimulants. More carefully controlled and comprehensive studies of hyperactivity are badly needed in these children.