AEDs and psychotropic drugs in children with autism and epilepsy

Roberto Tuchman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The efficacy of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and psychotropic medications in children with autism is limited to the treatment of seizures or to specific behaviors such as irritability, impulsivity, hyperactivity, repetitive behaviors, or aggression. The reliability and value of the available data-to determine the efficacy of these medications in autism-are limited by lack of controlled clinical trials, the small number of subjects, the heterogeneity of the population studied, and the brief duration of most drug trials. Indeed, few controlled clinical trials using AEDs in autism, with or without seizures, have been conducted. Because some AEDs also have a positive effect on mood, the benefits that children with autism sometimes obtain from these medications may not be due to the treatment of the abnormal electrical activity or the seizures per se but to an effect on common neuronal systems responsible for both behavior and epilepsy. The relationship between epilepsy and autism, and specifically the effects that abnormal electrical activity may have on the developing brain, may provide some valuable insights into the type of studies that are needed to help us understand the pathophysiology of autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-138
Number of pages4
JournalMental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • AEDs
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Psychotropics
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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