What is the research about?

Children and adolescents with Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) experience multiple mental health and behavioural problems. Left untreated, these symptoms interfere with their ability to learn and engage in life to the best of their ability. This is a review of scientific reports on the treatment of symptoms of hyperactivity, attention problems, social interaction problems, and anxiety in children and adolescents with Fragile X Syndrome.


What did the researchers do?

The researchers conducted a review of the scientific literature on the treatment of mental health problems in children and adolescents with FXS, published between 2009 and 2014. The authors looked at multiple medications that have been tested in animals which were bred to have symptoms similar to FXS, medications already tested for safety and effectiveness in humans, and medications currently available by prescription for other conditions, as well as behavioural therapies.


What did the researchers find?

The researchers discovered that there was positive but limited evidence for the effectiveness of minocycline, acamprosate, lovastatin, and sertraline. No large scale, randomized trials have been conducted on any of these medications. The authors stated that it is probable that the best treatments would combine medication with behavioural interventions, especially if given to children during their first five years.


Take home message

Small trials have shown evidence of the effectiveness of a number of medications currently available by prescription.  It is likely that combinations of several medications and behavioural interventions will work best to improve the mental health and behaviour problems in children and adolescents with FXS.  Higher quality studies with more participants are needed to confirm the best interventions.


Notes

The original  Research Report was written by R J. Hagerman and J.Polussa, and was published in Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2015