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Autism

Medicating an Autistic Child

02/02/2007

Question:

My 7yr old son has mild/moderate autism.His emotions lately have become like a rollercoaster. He had a horrific year at school last year and even with school ending he has not settled down but seems to becoming more manic emotionally. It breaks my heart to watch this beautiful little boy in so much pain.His anxiety about me dying has hit new hights and doesn`t like me to be out of his sight for to long. He is to start school again in 3 weeks and I just don`t know how he is going to cope. I have always refused to medicate him but I am beginning to think that it might be best.

Will medicating him help releive his pain he lives with or will the side-effects of the medication be worse for him?

Answer:

Your son is obviously going through a lot of turmoil at this time. With what you are describing as his symptoms, it appears that you are a very good mother who is obviously wanting to help decrease his suffering at this time.

Recently, there has been a medication that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of autism. It has shown to be very promising with many children who have autism with irritability, anxiety, and other symptoms which affect the well being of these kids. We have seen excellent results with many children.

Having said that, like any medication there can be side effects. The main side effect with this medication is weight gain. We have found that the weight gain is controlled by fairly rigid diet counseling and parents who adhere to good nutritional habits.

I suggest that you contact your local physician or someone who has experience dealing with the medication called Risperidone. It is very important to have regular follow up while your son is on this medication.

Good luck, and if medication is the route which you choose to travel, hopefully you and your son will gain a new lease on life.

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Response by:

Susan Thompson, MSN, CPNP
Research Nurse Practitioner
OSU Nisonger Center
The Ohio State University