Psychotropic medication use among adolescents and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder: Parent views about medication use and health care services
Lake, Johanna K.
Weiss, Jonathan A.
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Objectives: Psychotropic medications are frequently used to treat mental health and behavioral issues in adolescents and adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although parents of individuals with ASD frequently take on medication management for their child, there is limited literature on parent perspectives of their child’s medication use or their views about the health care services they receive, particularly in adulthood. The current study examined and compared parents of adolescents and of young adults with ASD on their child’s psychotropic medication use and their views about health care services. Methods: One hundred parents of adolescents and young adults with ASD (ages 12-30 years) completed an online survey about their experience with their child’s health care services and medication use. Results: Parents of young adults were less likely to use non-pharmacological services before using a psychotropic medication compared to parents of adolescents. Parents of young adults were also less likely to believe their prescribing health care provider had adequate expertise in ASD and were less satisfied with how their prescriber monitored their child’s medication use. Conclusion: Findings highlight the need to build capacity among health care providers supporting individuals with ASD as they transition into adulthood. There is also a need for improved medication monitoring and increased awareness of the different mental health challenges individuals with ASD encounter as they age.