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Naltrexone in autistic children: an acute open dose range tolerance trial.


The safety and efficacy of naltrexone was explored in an open acute dose range tolerance trial in 10 hospitalized autistic children, ages 3.42 to 6.50 years (mean, 5.04). Naltrexone was given in ascending doses: 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg/kg/day. Behavioral side effects were observed as early as 1/2 hour after dosing. Ratings on the Children's Psychiatric Rating Scale showed that withdrawal was reduced across all three dose levels; administration of 0.5 mg/kg/day dose resulted in increased verbal production; and the 2.0 mg/kg/day dose resulted in reduction of sterotypies. Mild sedation of brief duration was the only side effect. Electrocardiogram, liver function tests, and all other laboratory studies remained unchanged throughout the study. These preliminary findings require replication in a larger sample of patients under double-blind and placebo controlled condition.

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