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    Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience severe psychiatric symptoms, often unresponsive to conventional pharmacological therapies, highlighting the need for more effective alternatives. This study aims to map and synthesize evidence on the use of clozapine as a therapeutic option for managing severe psychiatric symptomatology co-occurring with ASD. We conducted a scoping review on multiple sources following the JBI guidelines. The search strategy was inclusive, targeting both peer-reviewed publications and gray literature presenting empirical data on the use of clozapine therapy for patients with ASD accompanied by comorbid psychiatric symptoms. Two independent evaluators performed the selection of studies, data extraction, and critical appraisal. The review included 46 studies, encompassing 122 ASD individuals who received clozapine therapy. The sources of evidence comprise 31 case reports, 8 case series, 6 retrospective observational studies, and 1 quasi-experimental prospective study. The tables present the findings along with a narrative summary. Clozapine treatment demonstrated benefits in four groups of severe and treatment-resistant psychiatric symptoms in ASD patients: disruptive behaviors, psychotic symptoms, catatonia, and mood symptoms. Although side effects were common, tolerability was generally satisfactory. However, severe adverse events, such as seizures, moderate neutropenia, and myocarditis, underscore the need for intensive clinical monitoring. While clozapine shows promise as a pharmacological intervention for severe psychopathologies in ASD, more rigorous clinical studies are required to elucidate its efficacy and safety in this population. The limited robustness of the evidence calls for caution, signaling an early research stage into this topic.


    André Luiz Schuh Teixeira da Rosa, Olivia Sorato Bezerra, Luis Augusto Rohde, Ana Soledade Graeff-Martins. Exploring clozapine use in severe psychiatric symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder: A scoping review. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 2024 Apr;38(4):324-343

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    PMID: 38576151

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