Question: For adults with Autism, what are the most effective pharmacological interventions for reducing repetitive behaviours?


Plain Language Summary

A small amount of research evidence found that medication can help in reducing repetitive behaviours in adults with autism. However more research is needed to find out how effective medication is for the problem of repetitive behaviours.

Clinical and research implications

There is a lack of reliable evidence about the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions for reducing repetitive behaviours in adults with Autism. Two small RCTs (30 and 37 participants) compared fluoxetine or fluvoxamine with placebo and both found that 12 weeks of pharmacological treatment significantly reduced repetitive behaviours compared with placebo. However both were of moderate quality and neither had another pharmacological treatment as the comparator. Further research is needed, with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods which compares different pharmacological agents with each other, and not just to placebo.

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