Aripiprazole for maladaptive behavior in pervasive developmental disorders

Kimberly A Stigler, David J Posey, Christopher J McDougle
Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2004, 14 (3): 455-63

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to obtain preliminary data regarding the effectiveness and tolerability of aripiprazole in the treatment of children and adolescents with a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).

METHOD: Five youths (mean age, 12.2 years; range, 5-18 years) meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for a PDD received a naturalistic, open-label trial of aripiprazole (mean dosage, 12.0 mg/day; range, 10-15 mg/day) for a minimum of 8 weeks (mean duration, 12 weeks; range, 8-16 weeks).

RESULTS: All 5 patients were judged to be responders, as determined by a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) scale rating of "much improved" or "very much improved." Aripiprazole was well tolerated. No extrapyramidal symptoms or clinically significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure occurred during the short-term trials. Two of 5 patients experienced mild somnolence. Two subjects lost weight, 2 subjects had no change, and 1 subject gained weight (mean change, -8.2 lbs; range, -30 to +1 lb). The weight loss was likely the result of the discontinuation of atypical antipsychotics that had led to significant weight gain.

CONCLUSIONS: This case series describes the effectiveness of aripiprazole in the treatment of maladaptive behaviors in 5 patients with a PDD. No significant adverse effects emerged during these short-term trials. Additional research is needed to support these preliminary findings.

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