A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed examining the efficacy of aripiprazole for the treatment of irritability associated with autistic disorder in children and adolescents.
Aripiprazole was found to be more effective in reducing irritability compared with placebo at 8 weeks, SMD -0.64 [-0.90 to -0.39, P < 0.00001] as determined by the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist irritability subscale (ABC-I).
Pooled data from two eight week trials show that sedation is the most commonly reported adverse event. Statistically significant weight gain was also associated with aripiprazole, but there was a decrease in serum prolactin.
Most adverse effects were deemed to be mild to moderate in severity. Four open trials and three case series all show support for aripiprazole in reducing the behavioural symptoms of autism. Long-term studies are required to determine the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole in autistic disorder in children.
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