Drug used to treat alcoholism may help those with Fragile X, autism

Washington, April 05: In a new study, adults and children with autism and Fragile X syndrome have shown improved communication and social behavior when treated with acamprosate.

Acamprosate, which affects chemicals in the brain by blocking certain receptors associated with mental health, has approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcoholism in adults.

Craig Erickson, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Indiana University School of Medicine and chief of the Riley Hospital for Children Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Indiana University Health, is the inventor on a pending utility patent for the use of acamprosate as a therapeutic agent for Fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and the most frequent single gene cause of autism.

"We have been treating small numbers of both adults and children," said Erickson.

"We have observed improvements in eye contact, social interaction and speech. This is very early work, but it appears promising.

"We have a lot to do. We need to determine appropriate doses and forms for the best drug delivery. Larger studies will be needed to determine effectiveness and tolerability. And we expect to find many interesting things along the road, for example whether this drug could work better in those with Fragile X who have autism than in those whose autism is from an unknown cause," added Erickson.

In November 2010 Erickson and colleagues reported in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders on the first trial of acamprosate in adults with Fragile X syndrome and autism.(ANI)

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