Role of Medications in ASD
The role of medicines / drugs is very limited in the case of ASD. There is no medicine available for the core symptoms of ASD but a few associated conditions can be wisely treated with medications
While treating children with ASD, medication can be one of the options in few selected children. Medicines are used to improve the hyperactivity so that these children can function more efficiently
Medicines to treat hyperactivity include:
Stimulants usually reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve focus. The improvement with these medicines varies a lot.
Common stimulant medications used in the treatment of ASD include
Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Focalin, Adderall, Adderall XR, Dexedrine, Dextrostat
Where stimulants are showing lot of side effects, then non-stimulants can be considered.
The examples of non-stimulants are:
The non-stimulants can be alone or in combination with stimulant medicines. The common example is Atomoxetine (Strattera)
Antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft) and citalopram (Celexa) may be effective against co-existing conditions with ASD.
Although medicines are not for cure but they may help in betterment of concentration, to be less impulsive, to feel calmer, and learning new skills
Convulsion (Seizure / Epilepsy) Management
A few children with ASD also suffer from epilepsy or convulsion disorder
Most seizures that happen in ASD children are either complex-partial or tonic-clonic.
Anticonvulsants help stop these seizures in ASD children. There are different types of anticonvulsant medications available. These anticonvulsants tend to limit the excessive electrical activity that occurs in ASD related seizures. There have been many successes in treating these seizures with anticonvulsants.
Conventional antiepileptic drugs:
Phenytoin, Phenobarbitone, Carbamazipine, Valporic acid.
Newer antiepileptic drugs:
Oxcarbazepine, Gabapentine, Lamotrizine, Clobazam, Topramate, Levitiracetam, Zonisamide, Pregabalin, Tiagabine, Vigabatrin.
Side effects of anticonvulsant medication include drowsiness, dizziness, irritability, confusion, vomiting, uncontrolled eye movements, gingivitis, and itching or a rash. Anticonvulsants may also interact negatively with other medications that you may be taking.
Drooling is unintentional involuntary spillage of saliva from the mouth may be associated with ASD. It is considered as psycho-social consequences such as social stigmatization and emotional devastation for the patients and their families.
Medication: There are only a few medicines which helps reducing drooling. Anticholinergic medicines such as Glycopyrrolate and scopolamine help a little bit.
Side effects: These medicines have lot of side effects.