Research: Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Amantadine Hydrochloride in the Treatment of Children with Autistic Disorder


Authored by King, BH, Wright DM, Handen BL, and Sickich L. in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 40, Issue 6, p. 658-664, (2001).

Article summary (posted Sep 16, 2009):

Amantadine may improve behaviors in some children with autism.

This article reported results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of amantadine (drug that acts on the brain). There were 39 children (5-19 years old) in the study. Children received either amantadine (2.5 mg/kg for one week, and then 5.0 mg/kg for 3 weeks) or placebo (sugar pill). The researchers measured the children's behaviors using one standard test and the parents measured behaviors using a different standard test. The researchers found that treatment with amantadine decreased hyperactivity and inappropriate speech. The parents in both the placebo group and the amantadine group found improvements in behaviors. It was about the same degree of improvements in both groups. In other words, there was a noticeable "placebo effect" because parents reported improvements for 37% of children on placebo. In comparison, parents reported improvements for 47% of the children taking amantadine. The difference between the two groups with parent-measured tests was not large enough to be important. The authors talked about placebo effects reported in other studies of drug therapy for autism.


You can access the original abstract and the complete paper is sometimes available for free via Google Scholar (look for entries that say "PDF" or "HTML" on the right side of the page).

academic support system, autism, controlled study, double-blind, drug, hyperactivity, parent, placebo, placebo effect, speech therapy, therapy, treatment