Monday, December 5, 2011

Prozac May Reduce Adult Autism Symtoms

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The antidepressant Prozac may alleviate repetitive behavior and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in adults with autism, reducing these defining symptoms of the disorder, according to new research.
The research, which included 37 high-functioning autistic adults, mainly diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, followed participants for 12 weeks. Taking Prozac (fluoxetine) doubled the chances that a patient would show overall improvement, measured by their clinicians. Half of the participants taking Prozac had significant reductions in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, compared with 8% taking placebo. Side effects were mild to moderate and participants taking Prozac did not show increases in suicidal thoughts or ideas.
"Repetitive behavior is a core symptom of the illness," says lead author Dr. Eric Hollander, medical director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, explaining that "from a very early age, these children have rituals and routines. For example, they like to line up their toys and they get very bent out of shape if there is any deviation."

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