Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antipsychotic drug controls some symptoms in autism disorder

01.02.2007
Risperidone, a drug used to control schizophrenia symptoms, may also help treat behaviors found in autism spectrum disorder, according to a new review of studies.

The reviewers looked at three randomized, placebo-controlled studies of risperidone (Risperdal) involving 211 participants, including 31 adults.

"[We found] that risperidone may be beneficial for various aspects of autism including irritability, repetition and hyperactivity," said researchers led by Dr. Ora Jesner of the University of Bristol, in England. But the drug's benefits may be offset by its side effects, with weight gain the most prominent.

Often diagnosed within the first three years of life, autism spectrum disorder leads to difficulties with social relationships, language and communication skills. Symptoms include withdrawal from social interactions, irritability, problems communicating and repetitive behaviors.

It is known as a "spectrum" disorder because there is a wide variation in how it affects individuals. Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that as many as 1.5 million Americans may have some form of the disorder.

"Autism spectrum disorder affects many families worldwide," Jesner said. "At present many of the interventions available are not evidence-based." He said he and co-author Dr. Mehrnoosh Aref-Adib "wanted to analyze the evidence for one important antipsychotic [drug] used for the condition."

The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Because of the small number of studies, wide range of different scales used to assess outcomes and sizes of the trials themselves, the researchers were only able to look at how well the patients responded for the three specific symptoms of irritability, repetitive movement and social withdrawal.

In addition to weight gain, significant side effects included involuntary muscle movements. As the studies were of short duration, long-term side effects and usefulness remain unknown. Since risperidone does not cure the disorder and may have to be continued for a long period of time, this is an important missing piece.

Susan Levy, M.D., director of the Regional Autism Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said that the authors' weak support for the medication in the conclusion surprised her.

"The researchers seemed to be lukewarm towards their positive findings," said Levy, who was not involved with the study. "From my personal experience, this medication can be quite helpful for behavioral difficulties."

The Cochrane reviewers and Levy stress that parents and caregivers should be careful about expecting too much from the medication when talking about this treatment with their doctors. Not all behavioral problems can be helped with risperidone and both side effects and improvements from the drug should be considered.

"As ASD is diagnosed at a young age and these short trials lack long-term data, parents or caregivers need to be aware it is not known how long the medication needs to be continued — potentially for a lifetime," the researchers said. "This is particularly important given the side effects."

Levy termed risperidone "a more serious medication" that she would reserve for more serious difficulties.

"It needs to be stressed to the parents and others that this is not a cure for autism or for the core symptoms of ASD," Levy said. "But it works well for some of the associated problems."

Lisa Esposito | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cfah.org
http://www.cochrane.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>