Autism spectrum disorder is a congenital neurodevelopmental disease, characterized by impaired social interaction and communication ability and repetitive and limited interests and behavior. Most children and adolescents with autism exhibit loneliness and difficulties in establishing interpersonal relationships. Speech–language therapy, behavioral therapy, and social skill training are mainstays of autism treatment, whereas medication plays an auxiliary role. Currently, no evidence has indicated that drugs can effectively treat all core symptoms of autism, and atypical antipsychotics, particularly risperidone and aripiprazole, are the only two medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating autism-related irritability. Other medicines, such as drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antiepileptic drugs, and antidepressants, are still used clinically as adjuvant therapies to treat autism-related behaviors or emotional symptoms. This article reviews the research on pharmacologic treatment for autism and summarizes the potential pharmacotherapeutic options.
Summited for publication: 2021.1.4; Accepted for publication: 2021.3.24