Naltrexone open trial with a 5-year-old-boy. A social rebound reaction.

The neurobiological rationale for an opiate antagonist pharmacotherapy of autism is presented. Naltrexone efficacy in decreasing autistic behaviour and in increasing social-affiliative behaviour was explored in a 5-year-old autistic boy. Naltrexone (0.5 mg/kg 3 times peer week) was effective in immediately decreasing gross motor activity and stereotyped behaviour and caused a delayed increase of crying, smiling and rough-and-tumble play. This single case presents preliminary evidence that a therapeutically valuable rebound reaction is possible and that the human opioid system modulates social-affective processes. The possibility of psychological factors being instrumental in achieving this effect is discussed as being suitable for future clinical trials.

The neurobiological rationale for an opiate antagonist pharmacotherapy of autism is presented. Naltrexone efficacy in decreasing autistic behaviour and in increasing social-affiliative behaviour was explored in a 5-year-old autistic boy. Naltrexone (0.5 mg/kg 3 times peer week) was effective in immediately decreasing gross motor activity and stereotyped behaviour and caused a delayed increase of crying, smiling and rough-and-tumble play. This single case presents preliminary evidence that a therapeutically valuable rebound reaction is possible and that the human opioid system modulates social-affective processes. The possibility of psychological factors being instrumental in achieving this effect is discussed as being suitable for future clinical trials.

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