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Little Support Found for Medication of Autism Symptoms

Behavioral and developmental interventions may be of some benefit

MONDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Early behavioral and developmental interventions may benefit children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but there is little evidence to support medical interventions, according to three studies published online April 4 in Pediatrics.

Zachary Warren, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues reviewed and analyzed literature on behavioral and developmental interventions for children 12 and younger with ASDs. Although the literature was limited by methodologic concerns, they found that some early behavioral and developmental intervention approaches resulted in improved cognitive performance, language skills, and adaptive behavior skills in some children with ASDs.

Shanthi Krishnaswami, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., of Vanderbilt University, and colleagues reviewed evidence from seven randomized controlled trials of secretin in children under 12 with ASDs. They found evidence that the treatment lacks benefit in children with ASD symptoms. Melissa L. McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the same institution, and colleagues reviewed the literature for evidence regarding medical treatments for children 12 and younger with ASDs. They found support for risperidone and aripiprazole for treatment of challenging and repetitive behaviors, but evidence also supported significant adverse events related to the two medications.

"Although many children with ASDs are currently treated with medical interventions, strikingly little evidence exists to support benefit for most treatments. Risperidone and aripiprazole have shown benefit for challenging and repetitive behaviors, but associated adverse effects limit their use to patients with severe impairment or risk of injury," McPheeters and colleagues conclude.

One author, involved in all three articles, disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract - Warren
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Abstract - Krishnaswami
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Abstract - McPheeters
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