Hormonal therapies have recently been proven to help with communication skills and social interactions in children and men with autism
A recent poll made by the US Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) recently asked what drugs people with autism would find most useful, answers showed on the top half medication that helps with communication and socialization behaviors, according to Paulo Fontoura from the pharmaceutical firm Roche.
Even though people with autism take ADHD medication to help them with attention or anti-psychotics for help with aggression, there are no drugs yet available to help with social difficulties. That is why, there were two recent studies that wanted to test different ways to target the body’s system for regulating vasopressin, a hormone known to affect social interactions.
The first study initiated by Stanford University implied 30 autistic children aged 6 to 12 who were given a nasal spray containing vasopressin for daily use for 4 weeks, out of which half were given a placebo. After the 4 weeks, the children that were given vasopressin showed a significant improvement in their social abilities than those who received the placebo, plus, they also got better at recognizing the emotional states of faces, reduced symptoms of anxiety, and a decline in repetitive behavior.
A second study worked with 223 men with autism who took either a placebo or a low, medium or high dose of Balovaptan every day for 12 weeks. After the necessary time passed there were some improvements seen in their communication and social abilities that increased in line with the dose of the drug.
The specialists working on the studies discussed the results stating they do not know yet if targeting vasopressin pathways will have valuable or lasting effects, or why boosting and blocking it seems to be having beneficial results. Karen Parker who led the study from Stanford University stated:
“The best way for me to reconcile that might be that there’s an optimal band of vasopressin functioning, and you don’t want to deviate too high or too low from that.”