Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)is a terrible disease, which sadly develops since early childhood, preventing children from communicating properly, perceiving the reality around them and leading a normal life. The medication they take in order to keep the disease under control can actually cause other health problems for them, and one of them is that they become overweight. Now autistic kids are presented with a solution for this due to a diabetes drug.
The diabetes drug which can help autistic kids fight their weight problems is called metformin. What it does it to reduce the side-effects of medication such as risperidone and aripiprazole. The latter are recommended for children with autism in order to improve their level of irritability and agitation. The side effect is that it causes children to gain weight.
There is a new study which shows the effects of metformin against risperidone and aripiprazole. The study was based on 60 kids and teenagers, aged 6 to 17. All of them had severe weight problems caused by their medication for autism.
The study consisted in divided them into two groups: one of them was administered the diabetes drug, metformin, and the other only a placebo drug, with no actual effect. After 16 weeks (the stated period of the trial), doctors noticed improvements of the body mass index (BMI) of the patients who had been administered metformin, whereas the health status of those who had taken placebo remained the same.
The leader of the study was Michael Aman (Ohio State University in Columbus), who is now retired. He commented on the results:
“Our results showed that [gastrointestinal] side effects occurred for more days in the metformin group compared to placebo group, but the large majority of children taking metformin were able to maintain their treatment. Importantly, the metformin didn’t cause behavioral changes, such as increased irritability.”
The study shows that kids with autism are more prone to get overweight than healthy kids. Also, another important thing that the researchers point out is that the trigger of their weight problems is not the food quantity, but the food quality. As a result, parents are advised not to give their children food that can make them addicted to it.
Professor Michael Aman and his team published the study on the beneficial effects of metformin for autistic patients on August 24.
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