Drug and non-drug treatment in patients with autistic spectrum disorder: perception of caregivers





Autism spectrum disorder; Autism; Treatments; Non-drug therapy.


Introduction: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by clinically relevant and permanent deficits in social communication and social interactions. Limitations of verbal and non-verbal communication, lack of social reciprocity, friendship relationships compromised for the developmental stage, restricted and repetitive behaviors, being these stereotyped motor and verbal behaviors or unusual sensory ones, exaggerated adherence to ritualized routines and patterns, summarized interests and intense. Objective: To analyze the effects of drug and non-drug treatment of patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on the vision of caregivers. Methods: Field research, descriptive and quantitative, carried out with 59 caregivers from the Sertão da Paraíba and Cariri regions in Ceará. Data collection was carried out with an online questionnaire prepared on Google Forms, in which caregivers of children with ASD received the link through instant messaging groups (WhatsApp) in the regions mentioned. For data analysis, descriptive tests of measures of central tendency and dispersion were used, as well as the Binary Logistic Regression test (enter method). Results: The average age of the children was 6.25 years, most were male (94.9%), diagnosed with closed ASD (89.8%) and started attending school between 0-3 years old. (76.3%). Among the medications, the one that was most used was rispiridone (40.7%). Most reported that medications have side effects (62.5%), including increased appetite (28.8%). In addition, 88.1% of caregivers reported that patients used non-drug treatment, considering it as the one that provides better quality of life (76.3%). There were statistically significant associations between drug treatment, aggressive behavior (c2 (1) = 6.133, p< 0.013, f = -0.322), hyperactivity (c2 (1) = 8.854, p<0.003, f = -0.387) and quality of sleep (c2 (1) = 27,717, p< 0.0001, f = -0.345). In addition, non-drug treatment was associated with sensory-integral occupational therapy (c2 (1) = 3.622, p<0.057, f = -0.248). Conclusion: Non-drug treatment was appointed as the most responsive, providing improvements in core symptoms, with improved quality of life, in addition to not causing side effects, while drug therapy is related to the treatment of specific symptoms, and may bring Side effects.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 ed (DSM-V). American Psychiatric Association.

Babatin, A. M., Alzahrani, B. S., Jan, F. M., Alkarimi, E. H., & Jan, M. M. (2016). The availabilityofservices for childrenwithautismspectrumdisorder in a Saudi population. Neurosciences (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), 21(3), 223–226. https://doi.org/10.17712/nsj.2016.3.20150597

Barboza, A. A., Costa, L. C. B., & Barros, R. S. (2019). Instructional Videomodeling to Teach Mothers of Children with Autism to Implement Discrete Trials: a systematic replication. Temas em Psicologia, 27(3), 795-804, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.9788/tp2019.3-14.

Barboza, A. A., Silva, A. J. M. e, Barros, R. da S., & Higbee T. S. (2015). Effects of instructional videomodeling on the performance of caregivers applying teaching programs to children diagnosed with autism. Acta Comportamentalia: Revista Latína de Análisis del comportamiento, 23(4), 405-421.

Benvenuto, A., Battan, B., Benassi, F., Gialloreti, L. E., & Curatolo, P. (2016). Effectiveness of community-based treatment on clinical outcome in children with autism spectrum disorders: An Italian prospective study. Developmental neurorehabilitation, 19(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.3109/17518423.2013.864716.

Brentani, H., Paula, C. S., Bordini, D., Rolim, D., Sato, F., Portolese, J., Pacifico, M. C., & McCracken, J. T. (2013). Autism spectrum disorders: an overview on diagnosis and treatment. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria, 35(1), S62–S72. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2013-S104

Bosa, C A. (2006). Autismo: intervenções psicoeducacionais. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 28(1), s47-s53.

Castro, M. S. J., Gonçalves, C. A. B. (2013). Proposals for speech therapy for autist children: a systematic review of literature. Distúrbios da Comunicação, 25(1), 15-25.

Consolini, M., Lopes, E. J., & Lopes, R. F. F. (2019). Terapia Cognitivo-comportamental no Espectro Autista de Alto Funcionamento: revisão integrativa. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, 15(1), 38-50. https://dx.doi.org/10.5935/1808-5687.20190007

Cukier, S., & Barrios, N. (2019). Intervenciones farmacológicas en discapacidad intelectual y autismo [Pharmacological interventions for intellectual disability and autism]. Vertex (Buenos Aires, Argentina), XXX(143), 52–63.

Cruz, M. R. da; Praxedes, J. (2018). A importância da educação física para o desenvolvimento motor de crianças e jovens com transtornos do espectro autista. e-Mosaicos, 7(14), 187-199.

Debelle dos Santos, F. (2005). Autismo e psicologia clínica de abordagem dinâmica numa sala TEACCH: reflexões e partilha duma prática. Revista Portuguesa de Psicossomática. 7(1-2), 207-217.

DeFilippis, M., & Wagner, K. D. (2016). Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents. Psychopharmacology bulletin, 46(2), 18–41.

Elsabbagh, M., Divan, G., Koh, Y., Kim, Y. S., Kauchali, S., Marcín, C., Montiel-Nava, C., Patel, V., Paula, C. S., & Wang, C. (2012). Global Prevalence of Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Autism Research, 5(3), 160-179, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.239.

Fernandes, F. D. M., & Amato, C. A. de la H. (2013). Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders: literature review. Communication Disorders, Audiology and Swallowing (CoDAS). 25(3), 289-296.

Fombonne E. (2009). Epidemiology of pervasive developmental disorders. Pediatric research, 65(6), 591–598. https://doi.org/10.1203/PDR.0b013e31819e7203

Genovese, A., & Butler, M. G. (2020). Clinical Assessment, Genetics, and Treatment Approaches in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). International Journal Of Molecular Sciences, 21(13), 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21134726.

Gerhardt, T. E., & Silveira, D. T. (2009). Métodos de pesquisa (1. ed.). Porto Alegre, RS: Editora da UFRGS.

Hyman, S. L., Levy, S. E., & Myers, S. M. (2019). Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics, 145(1), 1-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3447.

Laugeson, E. A., Frankel, F., Mogil, C., & Dillon, A. R. (2009). Parent-assisted social skills training to improve friendships in teens with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 39(4), 596–606. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0664-5

Leite, R., Meirelles, L. M. A., Milhomem, D. B. (2015). Drugs used in the psychotherapeutic treatment of autistic children in Teresina-PI. Informative Geum Bulletin, 6(3), 91-97.

Lord, C., Elsabbagh, M., Baird, G., Veenstra-Vanderweele, J. (2018). Autism spectrum disorder. The Lancet, 392(10146), 508-520. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(18)31129-2

Magalhães, J. M., Silva, T. M. da, Silva, F. da C., Alencar, M. de F. B. de, Rêgo Neta, M. M., Alencar, D. de C., & Arisawa, E. A. L. S. (2021). Profile of children with autism spectrum disorder. Research, Society and Development, 10(4), e3710413880. https://doi.org/10.33448/rsd-v10i4.13880

Masi, A., Demayo, M. M., Glozier, N., Guastella, A. J. (2017). An Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Heterogeneity and Treatment Options. Neuroscience Bulletin, 33(2), 183-193, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12264-017-0100-y

Mello, A. M., Ho, H., Dias, I., & Andrade, M. (2013). Retratos do autismo no Brasil, (1ª ed) São Paulo: AMA.

Muhle, R., Trentacoste, S. V., & Rapin, I. (2004). The genetics of autism. Pediatrics, 113(5), e472–e486. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.113.5.e472

Murray, M. L., Hsia, Y., Glaser, K., Simonoff, E., Murphy, D. G., Asherson, P. J., Eklund, H., & Wong, I. C. (2014). Pharmacological treatments prescribed to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in primary health care. Psychopharmacology, 231(6), 1011–1021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-013-3140-7

Newsom, C.; Hovanitiz, C. A. (2006). Autistic spectrum disorders. In E. J. Mash, & R. A. Barkley (Eds.), Treatment of childhood disorders. New York: Guilford Press, 3, 455-511.

Nikolov, R., Jonker, J., & Scahill, L. (2006). Autismo: tratamentos psicofarmacológicos e áreas de interesse para desenvolvimentos futuros. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 28(1), s39-s46.

Orsolini, L., Tomasetti, C., Valchera, A., Vecchiotti, R., Matarazzo, I., Vellante, F., Iasevoli, F., Buonaguro, E. F., Fornaro, M., Fiengo, A. L., Martinotti, G., Mazza, M., Perna, G., Carano, A., De Bartolomeis, A., Di Giannantonio, M., & De Berardis, D. (2016). An update of safety of clinically used atypical antipsychotics. Expert opinion on drug safety, 15(10), 1329–1347. https://doi.org/10.1080/14740338.2016.1201475

Owen-Deschryver, J. S., Carr, E. G., Cale, S. I., Blakeley-Smith, A. (2008). Promoting Social Interactions Between Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Peers in Inclusive School Settings. Focus On Autism And Other Developmental Disabilities, 23(1), 15-28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1088357608314370.

Owen, R., Sikich, L., Marcus, R. N., Corey-Lisle, P., Manos, G., McQuade, R. D., Carson, W. H., & Findling, R. L. (2009). Aripiprazole in the treatment of irritability in children and adolescents with autistic disorder. Pediatrics, 124(6), 1533–1540. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2008-3782

Postorino, V., Kerns, C. M., Vivanti, G., Bradshaw, J., Siracusano, M., & Mazzone, L. (2017). Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(12), 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0846-y.

Sampaio, R. T., Loureiro, C. M. V., Gomes, C. M. A. (2015). A Musicoterapia e o Transtorno do Espectro do Autismo: uma abordagem informada pelas neurociências para a prática clínica. Per musi, 32, 137-170.

Silva, L. F. da, Silva Neto, F. S. da, & Freitas, G. D. de M. (2020). The therapeutic effects of musicalization in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (TEA): A literature review. Research, Society and Development, 9(8), e299985399. https://doi.org/10.33448/rsd-v9i8.5399.

SILVA, S. R. de A. M. (2019). Mediação escolar no transtorno de espectro autista: abordagem na sala de recursos multifuncional. Revista Educação Pública, 19(6).

Schwartzman, J. S., & Araújo, C. A. de. (2014). Transtornos do espectro do autismo (1 ed.) Editora Memnon.

Sousa, M. N. A., Sousa, M. N. A., & Bezerra, A. L. D. (2021). Atividades esportivas para indivíduos com transtorno do espectro autista. Revista Brasileira de Educação em Saúde, 11(1), 90-96.

Zalaquett, D., Schönstedt, M., Angeli, M., Herrrera, C., & Moyano, A. (2015). Fundamentos de la intervención temprana en niños con trastornos del espectro autista. Revista Chilena de Pediatría, 86(2), 126-131. 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rchipe.2015.04.025.



How to Cite

SILVA, I. F. M. da; SOUSA, M. N. A. de. Drug and non-drug treatment in patients with autistic spectrum disorder: perception of caregivers. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 10, n. 10, p. e293101018857, 2021. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v10i10.18857. Disponível em: https://rsdjournal.org/index.php/rsd/article/view/18857. Acesso em: 18 oct. 2021.



Health Sciences