Characterization of Medication Use in a Multicenter Sample of Pediatric Inpatients with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Document Type


Publication Date



Maine Behavioral Health

Journal Title

Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders

MeSH Headings

Autistic Disorder Drug Therapy; Pediatrics; Psychotropic Drugs Therapeutic Use; Drug Utilization; Human; Inpatients; Patient Admission; Patient Discharge; Antipsychotic Agents Therapeutic Use; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; Age Factors; Sex Factors; Nonverbal Communication; Intelligence; Prescribing Patterns; Multicenter Studies


Nearly 11% of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) undergo psychiatric hospitalization, and 65% are treated with psychotropic medication. Here we characterize psychotropic medication usage in subjects enrolled in the Autism Inpatient Collection. Participant psychotropic medication usage rates topped 90% at admission and discharge, though there was a decline at 2-month follow-up. Antipsychotics, ADHD medications, and sleep aids were the most commonly reported classes of medications. The impact of age, gender, and non-verbal IQ on medication usage rates was minimal, though age and IQ may play a role in prescribing practices. Future work is indicated to explore medication usage trends, the impact of clinical factors on medication use rates, and the safety of psychotropic medications in youth with ASD.

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