The objective of this study was to evaluate short-term efficacy and safety of aripiprazole in the treatment of irritability in children and adolescents with autistic disorder who were manifesting behaviors such as tantrums, aggression, self-injurious behavior, or a combination of these.
This 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted of children and adolescents (aged 6-17 years) with autistic disorder. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to flexibly dosed aripiprazole (target dosage: 5, 10, or 15 mg/day) or placebo. Efficacy outcome measures included the Aberrant Behavior Checklist irritability subscale and the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement score (CGI-I). Safety and tolerability were also assessed.
Ninety-eight patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo (n = 51) or aripiprazole (n = 47). Mean improvement in Aberrant Behavior Checklist irritability subscale score was significantly greater with aripiprazole than with placebo from week 1 through week 8. Aripiprazole demonstrated significantly greater global improvements than placebo, as assessed by the mean CGI-I score from week 1 through week 8; however, clinically significant residual symptoms may still persist for some patients. Discontinuation rates as a result of adverse events (AEs) were 10.6% for aripiprazole and 5.9% for placebo. Extrapyramidal symptom-related AE rates were 14.9% for aripiprazole and 8.0% for placebo. No serious AEs were reported. Mean weight gain was 2.0 kg on aripiprazole and 0.8 kg on placebo at week 8.
Aripiprazole was efficacious in children and adolescents with irritability associated with autistic disorder and was generally safe and well tolerated.