Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder defined by social impairment, language impairment, and repetitive patterns of behavior. Symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity frequently occur in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision criteria prohibit the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the presence of an underlying pervasive developmental disorder. Autism is characterized by broad heterogeneity in symptoms and associated features and may be a challenge to diagnose clinically. Yet, the accurate identification of ADHD symptoms in ASD has important implications for treatment. There is a significant body of evidence to support the use of medications to treat ADHD in typically developing populations, but a relative dearth of research to explore the effect of pharmacotherapy in populations with ASD and symptoms of ADHD. This article focuses on the medication management of ADHD symptoms in ASD to evaluate the current state of evidence and help guide providers in their clinical judgment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalPrimary Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


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