Which medications in the drug class Alpha-2-adrenergic agonists are used in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
  • Print

Alpha-2-adrenergic agonists

Alpha-2-adrenergic agonists may facilitate the management of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children with ASD.

Clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Kapvay)

Clonidine stimulates alpha2-adrenoreceptors in the brain stem, activating an inhibitory neuron, which in turn results in reduced sympathetic outflow. These effects result in a decrease in vasomotor tone and heart rate. May aid in the treatment of agression in children and adolescents.

Guanfacine (Intuniv)

Guanfacine, an alpha2 agonist, may preferentially bind postsynaptic alpha2A adrenoreceptors in the prefrontal cortex, and this preferential binding may improve delay-related firing of prefrontal cortex neurons. As a result, guanfacine may affect behavioral inhibition. It has been used off label to reduce hyperactivity in children.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!