New Drug Could Help Children with Autism

Medication STX209 arbaclofen may improve social lives of autistic kids

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Children and young adults with autism often have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. So far, there have been no medications to treat it.

Behavioral and psychological interventions have been used to help autistic children with social communication difficulties — one of the most debilitating effects of the condition. But a new experimental drug is currently being tested that just might be the answer for this core symptom of autism.

"Ask your pediatrician if arboclofen could help your autistic child."

The drug, STX209 (arbaclofen), is being tested on 150 patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders between ages 5 and 21 at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Juvenile Research.

According to Dr. Edwin Cook, lead study author, the social symptoms of autism are "often disabling for patients and families" and drug treatment is needed.

“It’s so disappointing for these families when the medications don’t help. For the kids, it’s even worse. They’re getting kicked out of everything, they don’t have friends, it’s totally disruptive."

This trial represents the culmination of 20 years of work in autism research at UIC. The researchers are not expecting to cure autism. Instead, it's a crucial step in the development of new treatments, Cook said.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 13, 2011
Last Updated:
July 16, 2011