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Behavioral, Drug Therapies Can Benefit Autistic Children

Improvements seen with Early Start Denver Model and treatment with aripiprazole

MONDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism may benefit from the Early Start Denver Model behavioral intervention or treatment with aripiprazole, according to two studies published online Nov. 30 in Pediatrics.

In one study, Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues randomly assigned 48 children to the Early Start Denver Model intervention, which is based on developmental and applied behavioral analytic principles, or to a standard community intervention. After two years, they found that the Early Start Denver Model was associated with significant improvements in IQ, language, adaptive behavior, and autism diagnosis.

In a second study, Randall Owen, M.D., of Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford, Conn., and colleagues randomly assigned 98 children to receive either aripiprazole or placebo for eight weeks. They found that aripiprazole was associated with reduced irritability and was well tolerated, although the rate of discontinuation for adverse events was higher for aripiprazole than placebo.

"Conclusions regarding the relevant benefits of aripiprazole compared with other antipsychotic agents in this population cannot be drawn from the findings of this study; additional studies that include active comparator treatment arms would be required," Owen and colleagues write.

Two researchers in the first study developed the Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism, from which they receive royalties. Several authors from the second study reported financial relationships with the supporting companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company.

Abstract - Dawson
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Abstract - Owen
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