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Advice about medicines and medical appointments - Autism

Medical appointments and medicines can be hard for autistic people.

This can be due to:

  • the sensory environment
  • the unpredictability
  • not feeling understood by the doctor
  • being talked about by others

Some autistic people may not recognise that they are sick or need to see the doctor. Many autistic people have a very high pain threshold and may not realise that they are hurt. Autistic adults may need help with making medical appointments.

Tips for taking medicine

You do not take medicine for autism. But you may need to take medicine for other conditions or if you are sick.

If you or your child take medicines, these tips may help.


  • ask if there are other treatments that might help - medicine may not be the only option

  • ask about the possible side effects

  • tell your doctor if you think the medicine is not working or is causing side effects - some medicines can work differently in autistic people

  • ask for a regular medicine check-up to see if the medicine you're taking is still right for you or your child

  • read advice on problems swallowing pills

  • ring the pharmacy before you visit - they can prepare your medicine so you can collect it quickly

Do not stop taking any medicines without speaking to your doctor first. Some medicines can cause serious side effects if you stop taking them suddenly.

Tips for medical appointments

If you or your child find medical appointments stressful, these tips may help.


  • ask for simple changes to be made that may help

  • check if there is an option to have an appointment over phone or video

  • ask for an appointment at the start or end of the day - the waiting room may be less busy and you may have to wait for less time

  • ask for a longer appointment so you're not rushed

  • visit before your appointment - knowing what to expect when you go for your appointment may help you or your child feel less anxious

  • bring someone with you on the day if it might help

  • ask the medical professional to write down a summary of the appointment

  • ask for a quiet waiting place, to wait outside or in the car - ask to be notified when they're ready

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 30 May 2023
Next review due: 30 May 2026