Prozac does not seem to ease OCD traits in Autistic children

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 63
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Location: Long Island, New York

23 Oct 2019, 1:31 am

Antidepressant Doesn't Ease Autism's Compulsions

The commonly used antidepressant Prozac doesn't appear to help reduce obsessive-compulsive behavior in children and teens with autism, new research suggests.

The study randomly compared use of the drug to a placebo over 16 weeks. In the end, the researchers saw no meaningful clinical benefits from the drug.

"We found that there was little evidence for the effectiveness of fluoxetine [Prozac]. The evidence is not strong enough to recommend it as a treatment," said study author Dr. Dinah Reddihough, a pediatrician at Royal Children's Hospital in Victoria, Australia.

But, she added that the researchers couldn't exclude the possibility that the medication might help some children.

More than half of children with an autism spectrum disorder are prescribed medication, and about one-third take an antidepressant medication, the Australian researchers said.

But these medications are being used even though there isn't sufficient evidence to show that they work for obsessive-compulsive behaviors in autism, the researchers noted.

The latest study recruited nearly 150 children and teens with autism. Just 109 completed the study. Eighty-five percent were male. The average age was 11.

Half of the group was given fluoxetine (between 4 and 30 milligrams daily) for four months. The other half was given a placebo daily for four months. Fluoxetine is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a class of antidepressants commonly called SSRIs.

Dr. Andrew Adesman is chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "We need to better understand why a large number of children with ASDs are being treated with SSRIs despite a growing body of evidence that suggests these medications may not be at all effective," he said after reviewing the findings.

"Now that we have an additional placebo-controlled study failing to find benefit from treatment with an SSRI medication, clinicians may want to reconsider the use of SSRIs in children with [autism]," he said.

But Adesman added, if children are already on an SSRI, parents shouldn't stop the medication abruptly. The dose of these medications is usually lowered slowly to prevent side effects from quickly stopping. Plus, parents should speak with their child's doctor about whether or not the medicine seems to be providing any benefits for their individual child.

The study was published Oct. 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 12 Dec 2013
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23 Oct 2019, 8:14 am

I should show this to my doctor.

Every day is exactly the same...


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Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Age: 58
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23 Oct 2019, 8:18 am

I had a partner with OCD. Lexapro didn't help with OCD, though it was quite helpful with GAD.

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 8 Oct 2019
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Location: United Kingdom

23 Oct 2019, 10:39 am

I've been on fluoxetine and sertraline TWICE, and both times they did nothing at all to help with my OCD. They didn't actually help with anything, not even 'general anxiety'.