- Dietary Supplements
- Health Conditions
- Healthy Nutrition
- Cardiovascular Health
- Skin Care
- Natural Remedies
Questionable Evidence Behind Autism Drugs
Autism is still a little understood disorder, with many variations of symptoms, from mild to severe. Scientists and doctors don’t have a clue why the U.S. seems to be the one country with such a staggering increase in diagnosed autistic children, all within one generation. The general public looks to the pharmaceutical companies to come up with a ‘magic pill’ to help these children so that they can progress to become productive adults in our society. As with many things in the pharmaceutical industry, the race to produce the medication, has led to questions regarding the benefit and there may be misconduct associated with the entire process.
In the race to find medications to help those that have been diagnosed with autism, scientists began experimenting with drugs that are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This form of medication is usually used to treat those with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Researchers in Ann Arbor, at University of Michigan examined the Clinicaltrials.gov and PubMed results for both placebo controlled and double blind medical research (the standards within the industry) on the results of SSRIs and autism testing. What they found out was a bit disturbing.
Of the fifteen trials, five were not included because they didn’t meet the expected level of research criteria. Six trials were examined and they found that three of these studies reported a benefit for the use of the SSRIs on autism, and three (including an unpublished trial) showed no effects what so ever. Part of the positive results in the use of SSRIs had to be renounced due to the fact that the studies were never completed or published. The resulting information that was completed and published showed only that information that was geared towards the positive results of the use of SSRIs. When only positive results are published, this does not reflect the true nature of the medical possibilities, and, in essence, simply opens the doors for those pharmaceutical companies to either release a new drug or enhance their published benefits of an existing medication for a disorder previously not included.
The researchers in Ann Arbor have concluded that the use of SSRIs to treat autism are overrated. The did find results that were compelling for SSRIs in the treatment of anxiety in the autism disorder, but additional scientific trials, with detailed information and results will be necessary. For unpublished testing, there is actually a mechanism that is in place. The United States National Institue of Health and the U.S. FDA created the 1997 FDA Modernization Act, ClinicalTrials.gov as a website to post all human subject trials. The loophole in this case is that almost all trials, involving children, are not posted or published. The researchers found that only around fifty three percent of the clinical trials that were held, were ever published.
Here’s the additional problem: while a pharmaceutical company cannot promote a medication for an off medical use, the slanted results are shared with physicians. There is nothing holding a physician back from prescribing the medication for a disorder other than the one that it was designed for.
The resulting situation is yet another area that the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies are working together to ignore the scientific trial standards set in place for medication research.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Neurology13 Jun 2012|