The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved a medicine for treating autism’s three core characteristics – communication difficulties, social challenges and repetitive behavior.

Risperidone (Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilify)  have been approved for treating irritability associated with the autism.  hese two drugs are in a class known as atypical antipsychotics and are believed to produce better results than previously used “typical” antipsychotics. In addition to addressing irritability, these drugs also may reduce behaviors such as aggression, deliberate self-injury, and “lashing out” or temper tantrums. The drugs address these behaviors about 30 to 50 percent of the time, but don’t address all behavior issues — and psychiatric problems are common in children with autism.

Sometimes medication is prescribed for related conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seizures, sleep disturbances or depression.


For more information:

PyschCentral – “Medications for Autism” –

ADDtitude “When to Call in the Meds” –

The following information is solely for educational purposes, not medical advice. It is not a substitute for care by trained medical providers. The Autism Society Inland Empire is not engaged in the practice of health care or the provision of health care advice or services. For specific advice about care and treatment, please consult your physician.