Skip Navigation LinksHome > April 2008 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 > Stimulant Medication Treatment of Target Behaviors in Childr...
Text sizing:
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics:
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31815f24f7
Original Article

Stimulant Medication Treatment of Target Behaviors in Children with Autism: A Population-Based Study

Nickels, Katherine C. MD*; Katusic, Slavica K. MD†∥; Colligan, Robert C. PhD§; Weaver, Amy L. MS¶; Voigt, Robert G. MD‡∥; Barbaresi, William J. MD‡∥

Collapse Box


Objective: This study provides detailed information about stimulant medication treatment for the target symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, disinhibition, and inattention in children with autism.

Methods: In a previous study, 124 subjects fulfilling DSM-IV-based research criteria for autistic disorder were identified among all 0–21 year old residents of Olmsted County, MN from 1976–1997. For each of these 124 children with research-identified autism, information was abstracted on all prescribed psychopharmacological medications.

Results: Psychostimulants were used to treat 52.4% (N = 65) of the 124 subjects. The median total duration of psychostimulant treatment was 4.0 years. There were 398 episodes of psychostimulant treatment. Favorable responses were associated with 69.4% of treatment episodes. Of the 398 episodes of stimulant treatment, 16.8% were associated with a documented side effect. At least one side effect was experienced by 66% of the children.

Conclusion: These results indicate that psychostimulants are commonly prescribed for children with autism, and suggest that these medications may improve the target symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, disinhibition and inattention.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Follow Us



Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.