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Friday, October 31, 2008

D-Cycloserine and Autism

Low-Dose D-cycloserine Ineffective for Social Withdrawal Symptoms in Children With Autism: Presented at AACAP

By Laura Gater

CHICAGO, Ill -- October 31, 2008 -- The standard drug treatment in autism is aimed at reducing associated symptoms, such as irritability and hyperactivity. No drugs have been shown to improve core social and community impairment in autism, according to David J. Posey, MD, MS, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN.

In a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Dr. Posey also noted that D-cycloserine (DCS) is a partial agonist at the glycine modulatory site of N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamatergic receptors. In schizophrenia, DCS had initially shown to improve negative symptoms that have similarities to the social withdrawal in autism. However, a recent large, multisite study failed to confirm these findings.

In a larger, double-blind, parallel-group study, Dr. Posey and colleagues aimed to determine the efficacy of low-dose DCS for social withdrawal in a larger sample of children with autism.

This study was an 8-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of boys and girls aged 3 to 12 years. Patients received either DCS 1.7 mg/kg/day divided into twice-daily doses or matching placebo for 8 weeks.

Primary outcome measures were parent-rated social withdrawal subscales of the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist (ABC) and Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) Scale. Secondary outcome measures were parent-rated ABC and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS).

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