An excitatory/inhibitory (E:I) imbalance marked by enhanced glutamate and deficient gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission may contribute to the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
We report on the first single-blind placebo lead-in trial of acamprosate, a drug with putative mechanisms restoring E:I imbalance, in twelve youth with ASD.
Materials and methods
We conducted a 12-week single-blind, placebo lead-in study of acamprosate in youth age 5–17 years with autistic disorder.
Six of nine subjects who received active drug treatment were deemed treatment responders (defined by a score at final visit of “very much improved” or “much improved” on the Clinical Global Impressions Improvement scale) and ≥25 % improvement on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist Social Withdrawal subscale.
Future larger-scale dose finding studies of acamprosate in ASD may be warranted given this preliminary indication of benefit.