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  • Children's Health

Anti-Depressants Not As Effective For Treating Autism

Under: Children's Health, Depression, General Health

For difficult to treat conditions like Autism, physicians will often start to prescribe new classes of drugs that typically are used for other conditions, if studies are published that show benefits for the newer condition.

Physicians are allowed to prescribe a medicine to treat a condition for which it has not been approved by the FDA.  This is called “off-label” use of drugs.

A class of anti-depressants known as SRI’s (serotonin uptake inhibitors) has been used by many physicians to treat autism.

Recent research shows that the studies which physicians based the use of these drugs upon did not represent the totality of information available, and if all studies were taken into consideration, there was no convincing data that these drugs worked at all.

To make matters worse, the Director of the Autism Research Program at Kaiser Permanente has stated that the “use of SRI’s by pregnant women may increase the risk for Autism spectrum disorder in their offspring.”  There was a 300% increased risk for Autism in the children of mothers who used SRI’s during their first trimester.

The take-away from this information is:

  1. If you have an autistic child and the child is using SRI’s, discuss with the child’s physicians whether or not they should be discontinued.
  2. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, discuss with your physician the risks and rewards of taking SRI’s during this time of your life.


Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.