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Psychopharmacological treatment in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders in Germany.

Research in developmental disabilities (2013-06-12)
Christian J Bachmann, Thomas Manthey, Inge Kamp-Becker, Gerd Glaeske, Falk Hoffmann
ABSTRACT

Data on psychopharmacological treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are scarce, especially for European countries. This study evaluated psychopharmacotherapy utilisation in children and adolescents with a diagnosis of ASD in Germany. Data of a large statutory health insurance company were analysed and outpatients aged 0-24 years with a diagnosis of ASD during a 1-year-period (2009) were identified. For this cohort, the prescription of psychopharmacotherapy was evaluated. Aditionally, we analysed time trends in prescriptions from 2004 to 2009. One thousand one hundred twenty-four patients (75.4% male; mean age: 11.1 years) matched the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of ASD was 0.37% in males and 0.12% in females, respectively. Of all ASD patients, 33.0% were prescribed psychotropic drugs in 2009. 12.5% of ASD patients were treated with stimulants or atomoxetine, 11.7% with antipsychotics, 9.1% with antiepileptics, 6.8% with benzodiazepines, and 3.8% with antidepressants/SSRI. Regarding substances, methylphenidate (24.4% of all psychotropic prescriptions), risperidone (13.3%) and valproate (9.1%) were most frequently prescribed. Psychopharmacologic treatment prevalence was age-related and increased from 16.3% in individuals aged 0-4 years to 55.1% in 20-24 year olds. From 2004 to 2009, the proportion of ASD patients treated with psychotropic drugs rose from 25.9% to 33.0%. This naturalistic study furnishes evidence that the proportion of ASD patients treated with psychotropic drugs has grown considerably in Germany over the least years, with methylphenidate and risperidone being the most frequently prescribed substances. Compared with data from the USA, the proportion of ASD patients with psychopharmacological treatment is noticeably lower in Germany.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Risperidone, ≥98% (HPLC), powder
Sigma-Aldrich
Methylphenidate hydrochloride
Supelco
Methylphenidate hydrochloride solution, (Racemic mixture), ampule of 1 mL, 1.0 mg/mL in methanol (as free base), certified reference material, Cerilliant®
Supelco
Risperidone solution, 1.0 mg/mL in methanol, ampule of 1 mL, certified reference material, Cerilliant®
Risperidone, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard
Risperidone for system suitability, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard