|5 Top Drugs for Autism|
Being a neural disorder, autism cannot be treated through medicines. Medical practitioners use drugs in cases of autism solely to treat and manage symptoms. Five major drug categories are regularly used for symptomatic treatment.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly known as anti-depressants or drugs that are used to treat anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some of the FDA approved SSRI drugs used to treat symptoms of autism that can be administered to children above the age of seven include fluoxetine (Prozac™), fluvoxamine (Luvox™), sertraline (Zoloft™) and clomipramine (Anafranil™).
- Anti psychotic (old)
Older anti-psychotic drugs like Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine, Thioridazine and Fluphenazine help in the treatment of behavioral disorders by controlling the intensity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. However, some of these drugs are known to have side effects like sedation, muscle stiffness and abnormal movements.
- Anti psychotic (new) – Risperidone
Recent studies have developed newer anti-psychotic drugs like Risperidone, which have proven effective in the treatment of aggression and self-injury among autistic children with fewer side effects. The maximum side effect of Risperidone has been increased appetite and weight gain. Other effective antipsychotic drugs include Zyprexa and Geodon. Another moderately prescribed drug for controlling hypertensive behavior is Clonidine.
Anti-convulsants are drugs that control seizures. Since one in every four autistic patients has seizures, the use of anti-convulsants sometimes becomes imperative in managing symptoms. Drugs such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal), topiramate (Topamax) or valproic acid (Depakote) are some of the most used anti-convulsants. However, these drugs can only reduce the amount of seizures, not eliminate their occurrence completely.
Stimulants are drugs that are used for the treatment of autism symptoms to control and treat the autistic tendencies of inattention and hyperactivity. Drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) are prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) and have proven sufficiently competent in treating the similar symptoms of autism.
Because autism can’t be cured, many parents seek out alternative and complementary therapies but these treatments have little or no research to support their effectiveness.
- Creative therapies
Some parents choose to supplement educational and medical intervention with art therapy or music therapy, which focuses on reducing a child’s sensitivity to touch or sound.
- Sensory- based therapies
These therapies are based on the theory that people with autism have a sensory processing disorder that causes problems tolerating or processing sensory information, such as touch, balance and hearing. Therapists use brushes, squeeze toys, trampolines and other materials to stimulate these senses and organize the sensory system. A sensory processing disorder is not an official diagnosis and it is not clear if this is even the problem experienced by people with autism. Research has not shown these therapies to be effective, but it’s possible they may offer some benefit when used along with other treatments.
- Special diets
Several diet strategies have been suggested as possible treatments for autism but more research is necessary to see if they have any effect on autism signs and symptoms. To find out more, talk to a registered dietitian with expertise in autism.
- Chelation therapy
This treatment is said to remove mercury and other heavy metals from the body. However, there’s no known link between mercury and autism. Chelation therapy for autism is not supported by research evidence and can be very dangerous. In some cases, children treated with chelation therapy have died.
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