Tianeptine: a novel strategy of psychopharmacological
treatment of children with autistic disorder

Niederhofer H, Staffen W, Mair A.
Regional Hospital of Bolzano,
Department of Pediatria,
I-39100 Bolzano, Italy.
Hum Psychopharmacol. 2003 Jul;18(5):389-93


OBJECTIVES: Many autistic children have problems of eye contact and expressive language that limit the effectiveness of educational and behavioural interventions. Few controlled psychopharmacological trials have been conducted in autistic children to determine which agents may be effective for these associated features. METHODS: Twelve male children (7.3 +/- 3.3 years) with autistic disorder, diagnosed by ICD-10 criteria, completed a placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial of tianeptine, which lasted for 12 weeks. Subjects were included in the study if their eye contact and expressive language was inadaequate for their developmental level. Subjects had not tolerated or responded to other psychopharmacological treatments (neuroleptics, methylphenidate, clonidine or desipramine). RESULTS: Teacher ratings on the aberrant behaviour checklist irritability, stereotypy and inappropriate speech factors were lower during treatment with tianeptine than during treatment with placebo. Clinician ratings (children's psychiatric rating scale autism, anger and speech deviance factors; children's global assessment scale; clinical global impressions efficacy) of videotaped sessions were not significantly different between tianeptine and placebo. DISCUSSION: Tianeptine were modestly effective in the short-term treatment of irritability in some children with autistic disorder.

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