Galantamine may be effective in treating autistic disorder

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7377.1422/a (Published 14 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1422
  1. Helmut Niederhofer, child and adolescent psychiatrist (helmut.niederhofer@uibk.ac.at),
  2. W Staffen, neurologist,
  3. A Mair, neurologist
  1. Regional Hospital of Bolzano, Department of Paediatrics, Via L Boehler, 5, I-39100 Bolzano, Italy
  2. Christian Doppler Klinik, Department of Neurology, Ignaz-Harrer Strasse 79, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria

EDITOR—Wilcock et al report galantamine to be an effective and well tolerated drug in Alzheimer's disease.1 The mechanisms of autistic disorders are not completely understood. At least one kind of autism (Heller's dementia) is clinically quite similar to Alzheimer's disease.

No specific drugs seem to improve autism significantly. Desipramine, dextroamphetamine, clonidine, neuroleptics, and methylphenidate are reported to be only slightly effective but also to have possible severe adverse …

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