What are some medications used for Autism?
**Please note that I am NOT a trained professional. I am a parent with a child with Autism. Any information I give in my blog should NOT be used as a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, skill and judgment of healthcare practitioners.**
My daughter, Alana...
My husband, Mark, and I have a wonderful, gorgeous, caring, loving, giving and smart daughter. Her name is Alana and this year she turned seven (7). She was evaluated and diagnosed with Autism when she was three (3). Since then, we have had her on several medications; some with good success and others not so much. The decision to put her on medication was not an easy one to come to; much prayer and discussion happened between her father and I in determining a final decision. In the end, we opted for the medicine because, until she could learn to control some of the issues within her on her own, the medicine would help her quite considerably. Not everyone we know, even those within our family, thought we made the right decision with the medicine; but, as parents, we felt that ultimately it was up to us through the recommendation of Alana's primary care physicians.
As of today, Alana has been on or is on a number of medicines: Risperdal, Focalin, Clonidine, Adderall, Celexa and Hydroxy-zine. As I said earlier, some worked, some didn't. The best way for Mark and I to approach any medicine changes is through discussions with her "special needs" doctor.
Through a series of blogs, I will try my best to break down each of these medicines. If you are like me, information and knowledge is a must have.
What is Risperdal (Risperidone)?
From a primarily pharmacological standpoint, Risperdal is classified as a 2nd generation antipsychotic used to treat those persons suffering from Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and those with irritability due to Autism. It is an atypical antipsychotic and a dopamine antagonist possessing anti-serotonergic, anti-adrenergic and anti-histaminergic qualities.
Huh? Don't worry, I'm going to work at breaking it down a little further. Because, if you're like me, you don't speak "chemicalese". (lol)
- A 2nd generation atypical antipsychotic drug is one used to treat various psychiatric conditions; such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Autism, etc.
- A dopamine antagonist will block dopamine receptors by using receptor antagonisms.
- Dopamine receptors are defined as having the neurological functions for motivation, pleasure, cognition, memory, learning and fine motor skills.
- Receptor antagonisms have an affinity (potency of) without having efficacy (the desired effect of).
- Anti-serotonergic drugs inhibit the actions of serotonin receptors (those receptors which influence biological and neurological functions such as aggression, anxiety, appetite, cognition, learning, memory, mood, nausea and sleep.
- Anti-adrenergic drugs help to signal epinephrine and norepinephrine within the brain and body. These are interchangeable as being adrenaline (energy and excitement).
- Anti-histaminergic drugs give action to histamines which are hormonal responses to foreign pathogens with the body.
Risperidone (1 mg)
For more information...
- Risperidone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nearly everything you ever want/need to know about Risperdal (Risperidone) can be found here. It's an excellent online encyclopedia for personal use.
So, how does Risperdal (Risperidone) work with Autism?
In 2006, the FDA approved the use of Risperdal (Risperidone) for patients who were Autistic; however, the recommendation for such use did not include those who suffered moderate to servere aggression or had explosive behavior.
In regards to Autism, Risperdal (Risperidone) does NOT improve conversational abilities or social skills. Neither does it reduce obsessive behaviors.
A few of the behavioral issues that Risperdal (Risperidone) can help improve for those with Autism include; but are not limited to:
- mild aggression
- deliberate self-injury
- temper tantrums (known in our house as "melt downs")
- quickly changing moods
For more information...
- U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page
Home Page for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Side Effects (Common & Serious)
Some common side effects (that may go away during treatment) include; but are not limited to:
- dry mouth
- increase in dreams
- weight gain
- stomach pain
More serious side effects (those requiring immediate medical attention) include; but, are not limited to:
- changes in vision
- difficulty speaking or swallowing
- problems with urination
- memory problems
- shuffling walk
- trembling hands and/or fingers
- sudden weakness is face, arms or legs
- extreme thirst
- fast or shallow breathing
- muscle cramps
- pale or clammy skin
For a complete list of side effects...
- Drugs.com | Prescription Drug Information, Interactions & Side Effects
Prescription drug information and news for professionals and consumers. Search our drug database for comprehensive prescription and patient information on 24,000 drugs online.