Autism study: Medicine not effective treatment in most cases

Autism treatments scrutinized

CLEVELAND - Parents of children with autism have a little more medical evidence today to help guide them through the decision-making process for how to treat autism.

In a review published online Monday in the journal "Pediatrics," researchers from Vanderbilt University concluded that medications are not very much help to most children with autism.

They said the drugs, ranging from antidepressants to antipsychotics, do not seem to be effective. The strongest evidence clearly show that the enzyme secretin doesn't work.

There is some evidence showing that Risperdal and Abilify might treat some of the behaviors. Both drugs, however, may cause serious side effects and the authors warned they should only be prescribed for children who are very impaired by their autism.

Aletta Sinoff, Ph.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism takes issue with some of the findings of the analysis.  Click on the video tab for her comments about the study.

Researchers also found that behavioral intervention like speech therapy and play dates with normally developing children does result in improvement of learning, language skills and overall behavior.

To read to the reviews in depth, you can go to the website for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: h ttp://

For a list of resources in Ohio through "Autism Speaks," an advocacy group, go to the group's website at

About one in 110 children has autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

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