The role of pharmacists in the management of autism spectrum disorder: A survey to determine the knowledge and perception of the parentsZeliha Pala Kara, Büşra Çakır, Deniz Kaleli Durman, Birsel Sönmez Uydeş Doğan
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood and has many causes including genetic, neurobiological, environmental, as well as other risk factors that can trigger the disorder. The aim of this survey is to determine the knowledge of the families about ASD, the most prescribed medications, their side effects and the alternative therapies used besides to the pharmacological treatment. This study was survey-based and conducted among parents of children with ASD (N=50). Risperidone, aripiprazole, and valproate were the most prescripted drugs (64%) and weight gain (n=14), increased aggressive behavior (n=11) and drowsiness/sedation (n=11) were reported as the main side effects. Besides to pharmacological therapy, most of ASD children have used complementary and alternative medicine like gluten and caseinfree diet (n =23) or the sugar diet (n=15), as well as omega-3 (n=43), multivitamins (n=40), heavy metal chelation agents (n=27), vitamin B12 (n=18), zinc (n=17) vitamin D (n=9), and probiotics (n= 7). It is revealed that pharmacists should be able to inform the parents about the general characteristics of ASD, and new treatment approaches, and provide a rational use of prescribed drugs in children with autism.