Fluoxetine Improves Repetitive Behaviors in Adult ASDs

Improvement in Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive subscale, Clinical Global Impression scale

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In adult patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), treatment with fluoxetine is associated with significant improvement in repetitive behaviors, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Eric Hollander, M.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues compared the effects of fluoxetine versus placebo on repetitive behaviors and global severity in 37 adults with ASDs. Twenty two patients were randomly assigned to fluoxetine, and 15 to placebo. During the 12-week trial, dosage was started at 10 mg/day, and increased as tolerated to a maximum of 80 mg/day. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale was used to assess repetitive behaviors, and improvements in obsessive-compulsive symptoms and overall severity were estimated with the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) improvement scale.

The investigators found that there was a significant fluoxetine treatment-by-time interaction, with a significantly greater decrease in repetitive behaviors across time in the fluoxetine versus the placebo group. At week 12, there were significantly more responders (defined as having a CG global improvement score of 2 or less) in the fluoxetine group versus the placebo group. The risk ratios of responders in the fluoxetine versus placebo group for CGI global improvement and improvement in CGI-rated obsessive-compulsive symptoms were 1.5 (35 versus 0 percent) and 1.8 (50 versus 8 percent), respectively. Both groups showed mild and moderate side effects.

"Fluoxetine treatment, compared to placebo, resulted in significantly greater improvement in repetitive behaviors," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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