Methylphenidate, atomoxetine, certain atypical antipsychotics, and alpha-2 adrenergic antagonists appear to be the best drug therapy for children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This review paper describes key research on children who have symptoms of both autism and ADHD. Drug therapy (most often drugs known as psychostimulants) tends to be the most common treatment for children with autism and ADHD. Studies suggest that psychostimulants such as methylphenidate and atomoxetine do not help preschool-aged children with autism and ADHD. Older children seem to respond better to psychostimulants whether or not they have autism. The authors note that most of the current published studies on drugs to treat symptoms of ADHD in children with autism are case studies and small open-label trials.