Autism Seminar Notes Part 4

Evaluation of Treatments:

  • Risk vs. Benefit
  • Cost vs. Benefit
  • Evidence of Effectiveness 



Low Dose Principle

Some individuals on the autism spectrum need only 1/4 o 1/2 of the normal starting dose of drugs in these 3 classes:

  • SSRI Antidepressants
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Atypical Antipsychotics 


Too much causes insomnia, agitation, and irritability. Other drugs usually require normal doses. If used in small children, microdoses – 1/10 of meg of Risperdal. 

SSRIs antidepressants work well for anxiety and panic attacks. They are:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)



Principles of Using Medication

  • Try one thing at a time
  • Medication should have an obvious beneficial effect
  • Withdraw medication slowly if a person has been on it for a long time. 
  • Be careful about switching brands. 
  • Don’t expect 100% control of a symptom 


Atypical antipsychotics may have severe side effects. They are:

  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Geodon (ziprasidone)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Abilify (aripiprazole)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine) 


Blood pressure medications reduce anxiety and are used as sleep aids. Much safer than atypicals: Beta-blocker propranolol & clonidine. 


Anticonvulsant drugs for aggression and mood stabilization: 

  • Depakote
  • Lamictel (lamotrigine)
  • Topamax (topiramate) 
  • Special diets work for some individuals 
  • Vitamins and supplements B6 and Magnesium
  • Vigorous exercise for calming
  • Weighted blanket or vest for calming
  • Omega 3 supplements help the brain
  • Poor diet—more depression 


ADHD Drugs and Autism

  • Stimulants tend to make classical autism worse
  • Stimulants sometimes help individuals with mild Asperger’s 


Traits in Close Relatives

  • Four Generations of Bankers
  • MIT-Trained Engineer/Co-Inventor Auto Pilot 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Visual Thinking Skills–Artist, Home Decorators 
  • Food Allergies
  • Intellectual Giftedness—Writing English Literature 
  • Asperger Traits 


Look Up All Drug Interactions:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Herbal supplements 


AUTHOR’S NOTE: I don’t take medication for my autism. 

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