Current Content
Volume 32, Number 6
November/December 2006

Continuing Nursing Education
Risperiodone Use in the Treatment of Behavioral Symptoms in Children With Autism
Lis West and Julee Waldrop

The overall goal of autism treatment is to help the individual function normally or near normal in society (NICHD, 2004). Children and adolescents with autism can display disruptive behaviors, which has created challenges and barriers for teachers, caretakers, and medical professionals. In an attempt to control these behaviors, medical providers are prescribing psychotropic drugs that have not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of autism in children. Conventional neuroleptics have been used to treat the more aggressive and violent behaviors associated with autism, but many healthcare professionals and families consider their side effects unacceptable. As a result, atypical antipsychotic drugs, such as risperidone, are being studied as off-label medications to treat autism because of their increased safety and efficacy over conventional neuroleptics. This article will discuss the use of risperidone as a potentially safe and effective treatment for disruptive behavioral symptoms in children with autism.