Monday, July 04, 2005

New research for Autism Spectrum Disorder med risperidone

There’s a new medication option for children who suffer from autism. New research finds the antipsychotic medication risperidone (Risperdal) decreases aggression, reduces repetitive behavior, and increases social interaction. Study authors also say the drug had very few side effects.
Autism is a chronic condition that appears in early childhood. Children often have impaired social interaction, delayed language development, and behavior problems. There are two main forms of treatment including behavior therapy and medications. Some older antipsychotic medications have been given to autistic children with some success but often with major side effects. Researchers from the School of Medicine at UCLA conducted a study to look at the use of risperidone for up to six months.
The multi-site study included 101 children who received placebo or risperidone. The children were followed for eight weeks, and they then continued on the treatment for up to six months.
Researchers report the children on risperidone had substantial improvements in their behavior. They also found the side effect complained about was weight gain. Interestingly, the study shows that the disruptive and aggressive behavior returned right after the children went off the drug at the six-month point.
“The response of risperidone ranks among the most positive ever observed in children with autism for a drug treatment,” says James McCracken, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and director of the division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.