According to published research, serotonin
receptor inhibitors (SRIs) have a small but significant benefit in treating
repetitive behaviors, which are a core feature in autism spectrum disorders
(ASD) and can be a barrier to children’s learning and social function. But a
meta-analysis in the May 2012 Pediatrics, published online April 23, found that
may be because studies with positive results are more likely to be published.
For the article, “Pharmacologic Treatment of Repetitive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Evidence of Publication Bias,” researchers identified five
published and five unpublished but completed trials that were eligible for
meta-analysis. Five of the published and one of the unpublished trials
demonstrated a small but significant effect of SRI for the treatment of
repetitive behaviors in ASD. Study authors found significant evidence of
publication bias. When the results were adjusted to take into account the role
of unpublished studies within the field, there was no longer a significant
benefit for the medications. Study authors conclude that timely, transparent and
complete disclosure of trial results is critical to finding effective treatments
for children with ASD.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000
primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and
pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and
well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more
information, visit www.aap.org.