Use of medicines in adults with autism spectrum disorder in Australia

Renly Lim, Anna K. Moffat, Robyn Young, Lisa M. Kalisch Ellett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Use of psychotropic medicines such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics is common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, very little is known about medicine use in adults with ASD. This pilot project aimed to describe medicines use in Australian adults with ASD. We conducted a retrospective analysis of mental health care plan records for adults with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD from a single metropolitan psychology practice. One hundred and twenty one of the 168 participants (72%) were taking at least one medicine. Fifty-nine of the 168 persons whose care plans were reviewed (35%) were taking an antidepressant, the most frequently prescribed psychotropic medicine. Twenty-three (14%) were prescribed a medicine for airways disease, most commonly salbutamol. Antipsychotics were used by 11% and anxiolytic/hypnotics by 10%. The most commonly used antidepressants were sertraline and escitalopram (21 and 19% of antidepressant users, respectively). The most commonly used antipsychotics were quetiapine and risperidone (32% and 27%, respectively). This pilot project has highlighted that use of psychotropic medicines is common in adults with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-414
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number5
Early online date1 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • adults
  • Australia
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • drug utilisation
  • psychotropics


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