Autism and antidepressants

No parent wants to watch his or her child struggle with a disability.  With the best of intentions, some parents of children with autism are “‘often anxious to try treatments regardless of the lack of evidence’” supporting them (Science Daily).  Due to the varied symptoms displayed by individuals with autistic spectrum disorder, antidepressants cannot be recommended based on studies by Cochrane researchers (listen to Cochrane’s audio podcast of this study by clicking here).

Antidepressants may not be the best option for individuals with autistic spectrum disorder.

There is “no evidence for any benefits associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in children,” and there can, in fact, be “serious adverse effects” for children with Autism taking these drugs (Science Daily).

SSRIs are used to treat autism based on the fact that “they act on serotonin, the same chemical in the body that is responsible for some of the psychological processes affected by [autistic spectrum disorder]” (Science Daily).  Cochrane esearchers conducted seven trials, employing 271 patients with autistic spectrum disorder.  These trials monitored the effects of fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, fenfluramine and citalopram on individuals with autistic spectrum disorder, and discerned that there was “no benefit in the five trials in children and some evidence of serious harm, including one child who suffered a prolonged seizure after taking citalopram” (Science Daily).

Cochrane researchers conclude that they “can’t recommend SSRIs as treatments for children, or adults, with autism at this time. However, decisions about the use of SSRIs for co-occurring obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggression, anxiety or depression in individuals with autism should be made on a case-by-case basis” (Science Daily).

Brainjogging has experienced enormous success with children on the autistic spectrum: non-verbal Brainjoggers have begun stringing together four and five word sentences; Atlanta’s Marcus Autism Center has revised one Brainjogger’s diagnosis after observing her before and after Brainjogging; another Brainjogger enjoys social outlets like Boy Scouts and football with his peers.  Brainjogging is a wonderful resource for children on the autistic spectrum.  Please contact Brainjogging to schedule an appointment for your child with autism.

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