News Articles

Autism / Citalopram

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH) News

CITALOPRAM NO BETTER THAN PLACEBO TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Citalopram, a medication commonly prescribed to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was no more effective than a placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors, according to researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and other NIH institutes. The study was published in the June 2009 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

“Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders face an enormous number of treatment options, not all of which are research-based,” said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “Studies like this help us to better understand which treatments are likely to be beneficial and safe.”

The researchers say their findings do not support using citalopram to treat repetitive behaviors in children with ASD. Also, the greater frequency of side effects from this particular medication compared to placebo illustrates the importance of placebo-controlled trials in evaluating medications currently prescribed to this population.

Citalopram is in a class of antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that is sometimes prescribed for children with ASD to reduce repetitive behaviors. These behaviors, a hallmark of ASD, include stereotypical hand flapping, repetitive complex whole body movements (such as spinning, swaying, or rocking over and over, with no clear purpose), repetitive play, and inflexible daily routines.
Dr Jarir Nakouzi.Com