Neuropsychiatric profile and psychotropic medication use in adults with autism spectrum disorder: Results from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Adults with Autism

Abstract

Background
Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are a highly medicated group. Few studies have examined the neuropsychiatric profile and patterns of psychotropic medication use among adults with ASD.

Aims
To describe and compare the neuropsychiatric profile and psychotropic medication use in a cohort of adults with ASD and non-autistic controls.

Method
Baseline data from a survey-based, longitudinal study of adults with ASD in Australia. Participants were 188 adults with ASD and 115 controls aged 25–80 years.

Results
ASD was associated with increased odds of psychotropic medication use even when controlling for the presence of any neurological or psychiatric disorder. There were no corresponding indications for 14.4% of psychotropic medications prescribed to adults with ASD.

Conclusions
This study found substantial psychotropic prescribing for adults with ASD. Patterns of psychotropic medication use may reflect prescribing for behavioural indications despite limited evidence to support this practice.

Citation
Cvejic, R., Arnold, S., Foley, K-R., & Trollor, J. (2018). Neuropsychiatric profile and psychotropic medication use in adults with autism spectrum disorder: Results from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Adults with Autism. BJPsych Open, 4(6), 461-466. doi: 10.1192/bjo.2018.64

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