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Autism Spectrum Disorder

What type of autism spectrum disorder do you/does the patient have?#

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). These disorders cover a broad range of severity, but have several common characteristics, such as language deficiencies, lack in social skills and communication, and repetitive, restricted and stereotyped patterns of unusual behavior, interests and activities.

Autistic disorder –most severe form of ASD; often associated with some degree of intellectual impairment

Asperger syndrome – higher functioning form of autism; average or above average intelligence

Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified – impaired social skills, verbal and nonverbal communication, possible presence of stereotypic behavior, interests and activities, but not rising to a level that is considered autistic.

What comorbid conditions are associated with your/the patient’s autism spectrum disorder?#

Associated problems may include intellectual disabilities (but can range from severely challenged to gifted), tuberous sclerosis, seizures before age 5 and during adolescence, epilepsy, depression, sleeplessness.

What typical behaviors are associated with your/the patient’s autism spectrum disorder?#

Unusual responses to sounds, textures, tastes, smells and unexpected movements, may include significant anxiety and tantrums. Patients may also exhibit self-injurious, aggression towards others, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior.

Changes in typical behavior may be caused by an acute illness or pain, such as dental pain.

Which medications are you/the patient taking?#

Patients usually take several different types of medications to alleviate signs and symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders.

The most common first-line medication used to treat individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy is methylphenidate, sold under the brand name Ritalin. Between a quarter to one-third of individuals with ASD will take ≥3 medications at one time (see Feroe AG, et al. below).

To enhance sleeping – alpha-agonists (clonidine and guanfacine), mirtazapine (Remeron), trazodone (Desyrel.

To reduce aggression to others and self, impulsivity, irritability and agitation – alpha-agonists (clonidine and guanfacine); neuroleptics (thioridazine, chlopromazine, pimozide, haloperidol, fluphenazine, risperidone (Risperdal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), zisprasidone (Geodon), aripiprazole (Abilify).

Anti-epileptics – valproic acid (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol), oxcarbamazipine (Trilepta).

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