Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing
Uncategorized

Nursing School Professor Finds Popular Autism Treatment Ineffective

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NEW HAVEN, CT (ASRN.ORG)- Yale University School of Nursing and Yale Child Study Center Professor Lawrence Scahill, PhD, was quoted regarding his recent study, the first to show that children with autism do not benefit from the popularly prescribed antidepressant Citalopram. 

Scahill was part of a team of researchers at six academic centers who carried out a randomized controlled trial of 149 children ages 5 to 17. Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, commonly prescribed to treat the repetitive behaviors or inflexible routines exhibited by children with autism.

Scahill said, "Despite the limited evidence supporting their use in children with autism, SSRIs are among the most frequently used medications in this population. This is due in part because of their perceived safety."

The study showed that the medication has the same outcome as the placebo, albeit with higher risk of side effects. Scahill said, "These results highlight the importance of placebo-controlled trials of medications commonly used for children with autism spectrum disorders to determine whether risks of medications outweigh benefits." 

"Clinicians should be very careful about what they're targeting if they're using medications," said Scahill. Such medicines may be useful in these children to treat depression or anxiety, as they are in kids without autism, but "if you're targeting for repetitive behaviors, this medication does not appear to be effective."

Copyright 2009- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved  



 
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Editor-in Chief:
Kirsten Nicole

Editorial Staff:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Robyn Bowman
Kimberly McNabb
Lisa Gordon
Stephanie Robinson

Contributors:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Liz Di Bernardo
Cris Lobato
Elisa Howard
Susan Cramer