What are typical antipsychotics?
Typical antipsychotics are drugs that are traditionally prescribed to people for psychotic disorders and symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and hostility. These drugs are also prescribed to control tics.
Some commonly prescribed typical antipsychotics for autism are haloperidol, chlorpromazine and fluphenazine. These medications are also known as neuroleptics.
Who are typical antipsychotics for?
Any autistic person can use typical antipsychotics. Young children can use some of these medications.
What are typical antipsychotics used for?
Some people believe that typical antipsychotics can be used to treat some of the more difficult behaviour problems that autistic people experience, including aggressive behaviour, severe temper tantrums, hyperactive behaviour, withdrawal and repetitive behaviour.
Where do typical antipsychotics come from?
Typical antipsychotics were first developed in the 1950s as a treatment for serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia. In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers started testing typical antipsychotics for use with autistic children, as a possible treatment for behaviour characteristics. These tests showed some significant side effects. This led to the development of atypical antipsychotics, which have fewer side effects.
What is the idea behind typical antipsychotics?
Problems with brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can lead to increased activity in certain areas of the brain. This increased activity might underlie the behaviour characteristics of autism. The idea is that typical antipsychotics alter the way neurotransmitters work and therefore help to control behaviour symptoms.
What does the use of typical antipsychotics involve?
This therapy involves taking oral medication on a daily basis. The specific medication and dosage depends on individual symptoms.
This medication has a risk of significant side effects, so a specialist medical practitioner like a psychiatrist should monitor the child taking the medication. The child needs to have regular appointments with this professional, as well as regular health checks, including liver function tests.
The cost of this therapy varies depending on the brand of drug used and the drug dose or strength. It also depends on whether the drug is covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and whether you hold a concession card like a Health Care Card.
Do typical antipsychotics work?
This therapy has not yet been rated.
Significant side effects have been noted with the use of typical antipsychotics. These side effects include stiffness, restlessness and involuntary movements.
The risk of severe side effects increases if a person uses the medication over a long period of time or takes amounts higher than the optimal dose. For this reason, long-term use isn’t recommended, and atypical antipsychotics have become a more popular option. Atypical antipsychotics might also be more effective.
Who practises this method?
Parent education, training, support and involvement
If your child is taking typical antipsychotics, you need to ensure that your child takes the medication as required. You also need to monitor the effects of the medication.
Where can you find a practitioner?
It’s best to speak to your GP or paediatrician or a child psychiatrist about typical antipsychotics.
There are many therapies for autism. They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for autistic children takes you through the main therapies, so you can better understand your child’s options.