Fluoxetine In Autism

Fluoxetine In Autism

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Summary of The Study

The results of  the Study of Fluoxetine in Autism (SOFIA), showed that fluoxetine was not effective for reducing repetitive behaviors in children and adolescents with Autistic Disorder as compared to placebo (non-medicinal sugar pill). 

What is Fluoxetine?

Fluoxetine is one of the most widely prescribed central nervous system (CNS) drugs for disorders such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has been prescribed “off-label” by physicians to alleviate repetitive behavioral symptoms in autism.

How  Effective is Fluoxetine so far? 

Smaller studies in children and adults showed promising results, but there had not been a large scale study of this type to systematically confirm the efficacy of the drug for reducing these behaviors in autism. Currently, there is only one treatment with a specific FDA-approved indication for autism, but it does not target the core symptoms of autism.

The Study of Fluoxetine in Autism (SOFIA)

The study evaluated the efficacy (capacity for producing a desired result or effect) and safety of Neuropharm’s new low-dose form of fluoxetine, known as NPL-2008, which is designed specifically for the treatment of Autistic Disorders in children and adolescents. NPL-2008 uses the Zydis® melt-in-the-mouth formula, intended to be an easier form of the medication for children.
The study showed that repetitive behaviors were reduced when children were given either NPL-2008 or a placebo, but no differences between groups were found in terms of the level of reduction of repetitive behaviors. Thus, it was concluded that NPL-2008 was not more efficacious than the placebo. The new formulation was generally well tolerated by patients and no serious adverse events were reported.
The SOFIA study is the largest trial ever conducted in patients with Autistic Disorder. The study was carried out across 19 ACTN medical centers and clinical sites throughout the US. A total of 158 patients between the ages of 5 and 17 were enrolled into the SOFIA study in which patients received either NPL-2008 or placebo during a 14 week treatment period. The full analysis of the primary and secondary data from the study is ongoing.

Importance of the Study
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks’ Chief Science Officer remarked, “The development of effective drugs that are easily taken by individuals with autism is an important goal. While it is disappointing that NPL-2008 was not found to be effective for reducing repetitive behaviors, this study does highlight the importance of high quality.high quality, rigorously controlled clinical trials. Studies like this help build the evidence-base and offer parents guidance in making more informed decisions about their child’s clinical care.

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