Autism, like ADHD, Responds poorly to Anti-psychotics

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ADHD News-Mild Autism, like ADHD, usually responds poorly to anti-psychotic drugs

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mild autism-Asperger’s syndrome share so many behavioral traits, that often, the two are confused and misdiagnosed. I’ve found this tendency to misdiagnosis to be more frequent and more pronounced in younger children, a situation which probably occurs because both autism spectrum disorders and ADHD in children are so difficult to detect in very young (36 months or younger) kids.

Just like in ADHD, the use of anti-psychotics should be limited to children who clearly show markedly disruptive-impulsive-hyperactive behavior that has elements of psychosis (disordered thoughts) or have failed to respond to other medications with much fewer significant side effects.

For example, the most commonly used drugs in this class include risperidone and aripiprazole, both powerful anti-psychotics with risks for weight gain, excessive sedation or sleepiness, muscle spasms and for causing elevated blood sugars (as in Diabetes Mellitus) and serious movement problems (stiffness).

Obviously, whether ADHD or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, our goal should be to make sure each that we thoroughly evaluate each child for signs of ADHD, so that we avoid mistaking their symptoms and prevent mislabeling them as kids with ADHD.

 Dr. Frank

P.S. Remember, April is the month of Autism awareness!

Here’s an Autism news article you might want to take a look at:

Evidence Weak to Support Many Medications for Autism: Study
Anti-psychotics may help control disruptive behaviors, but side effects called significant

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/651543.html 

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