Treatments for autism spectrum disorders
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) refer to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders affecting young children and adults. Currently, the treatment options for ASD are mostly restricted to treating its symptoms. Among the various approaches for treating ASD, pharmacobiology-based treatments are numerous. We recently reviewed the up-to- date information on different types of medications, including herbal medicines, and evidence-based potential of recent therapeutic approaches in ASD treatment. (Jayaraman and Mundkur, Pharmacobiological treatments in autism spectrum disorder. Int J Curr Res Rev. 2017. 9(18): 36–39)
Several medications have been prescribed for ASD, including antipsychotics, stimulants, antidepressants, and supplements, and many therapeutic approaches such as special diets, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, stem cell therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation have been undertaken. The review of recent literature from last 15 years shows us that there are no large-scale, high-quality studies for any ASD treatments that
have looked at their long-term effectiveness and/or side effects. Moreover, the evidence is contradictory between studies for several treatments. For treatments that show promise, for example, atypical antipsychotic drugs, the side effects are significant. Hence, well-designed long-term RCTs with sufficient sample size are required to conclusively link the potential efficacy and/or the side effects of these
treatments with ASD. Caution should be exercised when choosing a treatment method for ASD as majority of existing evidence is not from large-scale long-term high quality studies. Among effective intervention options, several studies have shown that a structured intervention for children with ASD at an early stage significantly improves IQ levels, adaptive behavior, and diagnosis of autism compared to children receiving community-based intervention. In this regard, parent-implemented intervention has shown better outcomes for both children and parents compared to other forms of intervention for ASD, and has extended the benefits of intervention to the home environment.
- Jan 4–7: Pedicon 2018 – 55 th Annual Conference Of Indian Academy of Paediatrics, Suresh Bhat Auditorium, Reshimbagh Ground, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.