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Aripiprazole in acute treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Maneeton N, Maneeton B, Putthisri S, Suttajit S, Likhitsathian S, Srisurapanont M

Received 18 May 2018

Accepted for publication 29 August 2018

Published 12 November 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 3063—3072


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning

Narong Maneeton,1 Benchalak Maneeton,1 Suwannee Putthisri,2 Sirijit Suttajit,1 Surinporn Likhitsathian,1 Manit Srisurapanont1

1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand; 2Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Recent randomized controlled trials indicated that aripiprazole was the effective treatment for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Objective: This study systematically reviewed the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of aripiprazole in treatment of ASD children and adolescents.
Data sources: Electronic search of databases including, Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL and Cochrane Controlled Trials Register was performed in July 2017.
Methods: The full-text versions of included trials were meticulously evaluated and extracted. The main efficacious outcomes consisted of pooled mean change scores of the standardized rating scales for ASD and the pooled response rate.
Results: A total of 408 randomized patients from eligible trials were included for synthesizing in this meta-analysis. The pooled mean change scores in aripiprazole-treated group for the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC)-Irritability, ABC-Hyperactivity/noncompliance, ABC-Inappropriate speech and ABC-Stereotypic behavior were significantly greater than those of the placebo-treated group. Unfortunately, the significant difference between two groups was not found for ABC-Lethargy/social withdrawal. The overall pooled response rate of the aripiprazole-treated group was significantly higher than that of the placebo-treated group. The pooled overall discontinuation rate in aripiprazole-treated group was significantly better than that of placebo-treated group. The pooled discontinuation rates due to adverse events in aripiprazole-treated group significantly differed from the placebo-treated group (RR [95% CI] of 1.43 [0.65, 3.18], I2=0%).
Limitation: A small number of studies were gathered in this review.
Conclusion: Aripiprazole has efficacy in the treatment of behavioral disturbances, including irritability, hyperactivity/noncompliance, inappropriate speech and stereotypic behavior found in ASD children and adolescents; however, it could not improve the lethargy/social withdrawal in such patients. The present evidence also indicates that it is safe, acceptable and tolerable in such treatment. As a small sample size, further well-defined and large sample size studies should be conducted to warrant those findings.

Aberrant Behavior Checklist, ABC, Children’s Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, CY-BOCS, efficacy, acceptability, tolerability

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