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Risperidone and Behavior Therapy in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Long Term Follow-up

State/Province Full: 
United States

Based on an earlier study by Dr. Arnold and his colleagues in the Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network, the FDA recently approved the use of the antipsychotic drug risperidone to treat irritability and aggression in children with autism. The Network—lead by Dr. Arnold at Ohio State and including teams from Yale University and Indiana University—are now working on an NIH-funded follow-up study. The new study will examine whether risperidone combined with parent management training (PMT) can boost the effectiveness of risperidone and help lower relapse rates once patients stop taking the medication. The research team will randomly assign 120 children with pervasive developmental delay (PDD) to either treatment with risperidone alone or risperidone plus PMT. They will then evaluate autism-related behaviors. This grant will provide funding for a one-year follow up to examine the long-term effects of PMT and risperidone. What this means for people with autism: Results from this study will provide clinicians with important information about the long-term effectiveness of combining drug therapy with parent training for treating aggression and irritability in children with autism. Since prolonged use of antipsychotic drugs poses some risks to children, it will be extremely helpful to examine whether parent training can help reduce the need for medication over time.