Skip to main content
Safety and Efficacy of Donepezil in Children and Adolescents with Autism: Neuropsychological Measures JOURNAL OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY Handen, B. L., Johnson, C. R., McAuliffe-Bellin, S., Murray, P. J., Hardan, A. Y. 2011; 21 (1): 43-50


There has been recent interest in the use of cognitive enhancing drugs, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, as a possible treatment for executive functioning (EF) deficits in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The goal of this study was to assess the tolerability, safety, and efficacy of donepezil on EF in a sample of children and adolescents with ASD.Thirty-four children and adolescents with ASD (age range 8-17 years; IQ >75) were enrolled in a 10-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of donepezil (doses of 5 and 10?mg), followed by a 10-week open label trial for placebo nonresponders.The effect of donepezil treatment on EF was examined. Despite improvement on a number of EF measures, no statistically significant between-group differences were found (with gains observed for both the placebo and donepezil groups).The results suggest that short-term treatment with donepezil may have limited impact on cognitive functioning in ASD. Future controlled trials may need to consider a longer treatment period to detect significant gains on EF measures.

View details for DOI 10.1089/cap.2010.0024

View details for Web of Science ID 000287230000004

View details for PubMedID 21309696

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3037196