Aripiprazole for treating irritability associated with autism spectrum disorders.Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2019 Aug; 20(12):1421-1427.EO
Introduction: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a reported prevalence of 1 in 59 people. Its core features are persistent deficits in social communication and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. Individuals with ASD have a high incidence of secondary problems with mood lability, tantrums, self-injurious behavior and aggressiveness toward others. Collectively, these behaviors are often referred to as irritability. Many medications have been used to treat irritability in autism, with aripiprazole one of only two medications approved in the USA for this purpose. Areas covered: Herein, the authors review the evidence supporting the use of aripiprazole for treating irritability in autism, including the pivotal trials leading to regulatory approval and long-term studies conducted post-approval. They utilized PubMed, searching all English language publications since 2000, using the terms aripiprazole, autism, autism spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger's disorder, and irritability, and focused on clinical trials and review articles. Expert opinion: Multiple studies have shown the clear benefit of aripiprazole in the treatment of irritability in autism disorders compared to placebo. Often underemphasized are the metabolic effects, the proper monitoring for these effects, and the need for periodic reassessment to determine if ongoing treatment is needed.