Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum, is often comorbid with other conditions. Asperger’s is not directly medicated, but rather, the concurrent symptoms are. These can be anxiety and repetitive behaviors, aggression, and the inability to pay attention. Depending on which symptoms someone with Asperger’s Syndrome experiences will help their doctor determine which medications would be the most beneficial to that individual.
There are different kinds of anxiety associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. Those diagnosed with Asperger’s might also show symptoms of Social Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or General Anxiety Disorder. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can not only help with depression and anxiety, but can help patients control repetitive behaviors. Fluvoxamine, Olanzapine, and Naltrexone have all been shown to help people OCD and repetitive behaviors. Common side effects include restlessness, weight gain, and an increase in blood sugar levels.
Often a person with Asperger’s Syndrome cannot express how they are feeling and instead may come across as having irritability and aggression. One medication that has been found to help with this is Risperidone. Although it is considered an atypical antipsychotic, some patients with Asperger’s Syndrome have found that it is helpful for irritability and aggression, especially when these symptoms are caused by difficulties socializing. Side effects include to these are similar to SSRIs but can also include drowsiness and an increase in appetite.
There are many different kinds of medications used to help those with attention problems. Guanfacine has been used to help children with hyperactivity and other attention problems. Guanfacine has also been shown to affect behavioral inhibition allowing the child to become less impulsive. Lisdexamfetamine is a stimulant commonly prescribe for ADHD. It affects the central nervous system which can contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Atomoxetine, which is not a stimulant, has also been used as an effective therapy for ADHD. Once again, there are similar side effects to these medications but may also include bed wetting and constipation.
It seems that no matter which symptoms someone with Asperger’s Syndrome may have, there is a medication that has been shown to be successful. Along with nutrition and therapy, medications can be essential in living a happy and healthy life. It is important to remember that, while there may be positive effects from these medications, they all run the risk of potential and unwanted side effects. Like always, discuss with you doctor any and all changes in your physical and emotional well-being.