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    Old 09-20-2006, 11:27 AM   #1
    Noah's mom
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    Question Prozac and Autism

    Hi. I'm new to this site, but have been dealing with this issue for a year. My son Noah was diagnosed with PPD at 18 months old, and put on Prozac by a developmental pediatrician immediately. After seeing him twice, my husband and I got a second opinion from a pediatric neurologist who agreed that not only should Noah stay on Prozac, he should receive a higher dose. That doctor retired in May, and Noah has since been seen by a third doctor, even more specialized, with the title of pediatric neuro-psychiatrist. He also agreed the Noah should remain on the Prozac.
    Through the last year we have seen very positive changes. Noah has been in therapy for a year now, and is making eye contact, being less withdrawn and beginning to speak, but my husband and I are increasingly concerned about the effects the Prozac is having on his development. I know that there are no studies that address long term effects of using Prozac in a child as young as Noah, but I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had a similar experience that could give us their opinion.

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    Old 09-20-2006, 02:20 PM   #2
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    I have never heard of using prozac for children on the spectrum. However, I do take prozac myself for anxiety, and it helps me greatly. I think you are right to worry about the long term effects of the prozac. Did they start giving the prozac at 18 months old? That seems like such a young age to start a drug such as prozac. My son was diagnosed with PDD at 18 months old also, and our doc's told us that there are no approved drugs for the treatment of autism. They can treat some of the symptoms with medication, but not the condition itself. Good luck to you, and if you are still concerned, follow your gut and get a third, fourth, and fifth opinion if you have to.


    Old 09-20-2006, 03:09 PM   #3
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    are they board certified?

    have you tried zanex?

    Old 09-20-2006, 05:55 PM   #4
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    i am not sure that the prozac has had ANY impact on your childs developement either positively or negatively. i cant imagine what possesses doctors to look at an infant and say oh yeah he/she is just depressed/anxiety disordered... whatever and that this pill will cure their autism.

    there is a possibility but i think it is SLIM that the drug is needed but i am not altogether sure it is a good idea. there are lots of side effects to using meds and i am not at all sure that letting medication instead of your child control his mood is going to help him out. our son is severely autistic and has never been on any meds. his progress can be slow, though he is MR as well so i expect it to be (no animal sounds though so i woudnt worry there strongernow) but his gains are real. if your child has no severe behavioral issues i would see about weening him off so you can actually judge whether or not he needs them or whether or not its a behavioral issue that can be addressed with behavior therapy. any med that is taken long term can be dangerous. i think its in your childs best interest to let them prove one way or another that the med is either needed or not. your doctors have not given your child the chance to even try to improve on his own capacity. he might suprise you. doctor's are only educated fools in the end and are only feeling around in the dusk as opposed to the dark like the rest of us. rememeber you are God in your childs world not some quacky phd who only sees your child once in every so many months. if you feel he should go it with out for a trial period your doc must respect your wishes. legally your doctor can not order meds you do not approve unless there is guardianship issues which would only come up if it can be proven with out a doubt that your childs well being is in danger by stopping the med. prozac is not in this case anywhere close to being life saving. some how i highly doubt your 18 month old was feeling suicidal at the time of perscription.
    you not likely to lose to much ground during a trial period and you will have your answer about whether or not the med is worth the risk.


    Old 09-21-2006, 04:50 AM   #5
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Originally Posted by sross24
    I have never heard of using prozac for children on the spectrum.
    Yes, the SSRI's are used quite frequently in autistic spectrum disorders, due to the fact that obsessive behavior and rituals is thought to be due to low serotonin. SSRI's work for OCD, so they figured it would work for the ASD's, too, and many children have had success with them. As with many other neurobiological disorders, medication usually isn't enough- some sort of therapy is often needed. The medication helps with the unbalanced brain chemistry, so that the person is better able to focus on the therapy. Anyway, I'm a big advocate for the use of psychiatric medications when needed, but not in a child that young. If your child was simply uncontrollable, then yes, I'd say that the Prozac was needed, but otherwise, I wouldn't say that the medication is needed until maybe age 8 or 9, and even then, only if his obsessive-compulsive symptoms were causing him trouble. I have been on three SSRI's, over the course of three years: Zoloft, Lexapro (actually made my anxiety worse), Zoloft again, and then Prozac. None of them helped me. I started Prozac last November and went off of it in May. All the SSRI's did for me was make me extremely tired. Unlike sross, my anxiety wasn't helped, my panic attacks weren't helped, my OCD wasn't helped, and my Asperger's ("special interests" and mood swings/outbursts) wasn't helped. I don't know why. Many people with one or more of these conditions are helped considerably with the SSRI's, but they did little for me. There was just a time where I had to say that, just because I had low serotonin in my brain, doesn't mean that the medications were helping fix that problem, so there was really no point in continuing their use. I am not currently on any SSRI's. I have daily panic attacks (having one right now), have blasphemous and violent obsessions every day, and am still as fixated on my "special interests" as I ever have been. All of this put together makes me unable to function some days. One of the three may be worse than the rest one day, but they all stop me from doing my work in some way, shape, or form. The sad thing is that I was the same way (worse, even) on the SSRI's. I had to add the fact that, when I wasn't paralyzed with fear, I couldn't do work because I couldn't stay awake... Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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    Old 09-21-2006, 06:48 AM   #6
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Good to hear that Noah is doing better. I think it is as much because of all the therapy he has had, and your love, that has helped him improve. Eighteen months seems awfully young to be put on Prozac. I take Zoloft, and it has helped me, but I was over 30 years old when I started it.

    Old 09-21-2006, 07:12 AM   #7
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Hi - If it were my child, I would listen to the 3 specialists and keep giving him the Prozac. As you said, he has improved and is now making eye contact and beginning to speak. Those certainly are positive signs! You see Noah every day and can watch his actions and would know if any negative changes occurred. I'm sure that if you keep looking, you will find a doctor who will say not to give him the Prozac; but, why would you necessarily believe him rather than the other three doctors? As he gets older, of course you will continue to have him seen by neurologists who will follow his progress. Obviously, I could have the totally wrong opinion, but that's how I feel about it. Best of luck!

    Old 09-21-2006, 09:00 AM   #8
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Originally Posted by mabent
    Hi - If it were my child, I would listen to the 3 specialists and keep giving him the Prozac. As you said, he has improved and is now making eye contact and beginning to speak. Those certainly are positive signs! You see Noah every day and can watch his actions and would know if any negative changes occurred. I'm sure that if you keep looking, you will find a doctor who will say not to give him the Prozac; but, why would you necessarily believe him rather than the other three doctors? As he gets older, of course you will continue to have him seen by neurologists who will follow his progress. Obviously, I could have the totally wrong opinion, but that's how I feel about it. Best of luck!
    i have to say there are no wonder drugs that will cure autism. autism is not a disease and it is not the common cold. there are times that meds can HELP progress by allowing a person to focus but its not the CAUSE of noah's progress. noah's own hard work is what has improved him. Autism is a neurological variance that means this child, like my child will always have a different way of thinking other people around them.... including specialist. if a specialist says you shouldnt be eating chocolate chip ice cream because he doesnt like the flavor of it does that mean he is automatically right and that you should stop eating it? honestly, all meds are guess work. i take Zoloft and its working half of the time for me. when i was perscribed it the doctor was quite honest about it... saying that it would have to be regulated and that it might work if that is the hormone that is needed to be affected in my brain. he also said there is no way to tell what is the problem for sure because you cant test chemical levels in the brain so basically you just have to guess. that's as good of answer a specialist can give as whether or not noah should be on prozac.... they look at the data and they say, hey this seems to work why bother changing it.... problem is they never gave noah a chance to prove himself on his own, med free. he might have made the same progress anyhow.

    there are many devil's advocates for either side. it all boils down to do you want to keep your child on this med. if you do then stick with it. if you dont then give him a trial period without to see what come up. chances are you will see some behavioral issues because his body has gotten use to not having to produce those hormones being affected on its own. in the long run you have to decide which is more important... quality of life or quantity of it. do you want him to do the best he can do for himself or the best that he can do to blend in with the general public. its not an easy call to decide something like this but i look at it this way whats more important to isaac, my son, him being happy and healthy or him pleasing others around him. we have on friday an appt. for our son regard seizure disorder and meds will come up then i am sure. right now isaac doesnt seem to be having much trouble with seizures but his EEG might tell different. if the trouble isnt severe we will not medicate. if there is no significant impact on his health then we will wait. seizure meds have other effects much more troubling than those of prozac, zoloft, etc. its a call on isaac's health in either direction. our decision is easier to make. yours is whether or not noah's quality of life is going to be better with or without the meds. that's not so easy until you have tried. if you dont have the data on how he does without the meds then you just dont have an informed decision. my advice is to have a really good sit down with his doctor and be quite frank that you want to know the real reason for the meds and what are the benefits, long term effects, etc. ask him what he thinks of a trial period for noah to be off them, if that's something you want to do, and let him know you feel strongly about it. if you do want to do that you will come up against a little resistance i am sure if he is all for the med. he may try and guilt you by telling you that you are putting your childs development at risk but honestly he doesnt have the data to know that either. really talk it out with him.... and i am sure that you have other people on noah's case that you should be able to talk with and you can get support either direction you decide to go. the thing to remember is that even though this your child you have to become a professional parent when your child is disabled. i do agree that you are the expert and you know your son best. so what ever you decide you should know that you have made that decision with noah's best interest in mind and not everyone else's convience. if he needs the med then good that is his best interest, if he doesnt then you are a professional parent, an equal to all the others on your son's case due all the respect that the other specialists and workers and managers etc get, and your opinion is worth listening to.

    tough call, step onehundred in lifes little jokes and games it plays on us when we raise kids. look out for those other steps, they just get better with your kids age


    Old 09-21-2006, 01:40 PM   #9
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Your baby is been experimenting on.

    The baby was way too young to be diagnosed with autism and given Prozac. There is a Neuroimmunologist Dr. Goldberg (?) who uses very small amounts of Prozac on children.... I don't think on babies According to him with autism the brain does not prune itself by the age of 2 and Prozac does that, "pruning" means to get rid of some neurons as the brain grows.

    Yes, Prozac kills brain neurons.

    Which basically is useless because as the previous poster said autism is a condition that does not respond to drugs. In many situations children with autistic features have overcome the condition by the age of 5, possible because in many cases is a case of vaccines suppressing the immune system and by age 5 the immune system kicks in.

    There is not a test to prove that anyone of us has a chemical imbalance or that MRI pictures of our brain is showing any mental illness. Each one of us has a very different brain unless you have an obvious physical/viral injury which is not a mental illness.

    Ask yourself where those brain chemicals are coming from and you would find out that your digestive system produce them from the food that you consume. Diet is behaviour, good clean food helps the brain to function. Prozac is a man-made chemical that suppresses the normal fucntioning of the brain, is not food.

    As you are reading about the adverse effects of Prozac you are getting very concerned. It is important for you to become familiar with some psychiatric terms and do research.

    Study "Prozac withdrawal symptoms". Prozac is a long acting drug, that means tends to stay at the ends of the neurons for very long time, has accumulative property (have been some fatal cases among autistic children).

    Taking your baby off Prozac is going to be very tricky, you would need to go very slow.

    So, when you take the baby off Prozac he might have some of these symptoms, mania, hyperactivity, insomnia, impulsivity, aggression, self-injurious behaviour, akathisia, abnormal movements, etc. Some normal people describe those symptoms as "electric jolts" while trying to sleep or to rest, others like bugs crawling under your skin, other said like a numb sensation, burning, etc. These drugs affects the end of your nerves so when they come alive you feel odd feelings.

    Familiarize yourself with these terms "monotherapy" and "polypharmacy". Polypharmacy is bad, in some cases the brain adapt to one drug that is monotherapy, but is hard for the brain to adapt to several.

    What happens is that doctors when they see a drug losing efficacy (the brain compensates) and started to show adverse effects, the drug is increased, after a period of 'stability', the adverse effects are worse so doctor add another drug to 'treat' those symptoms, after a period of stability, the drug loses efficacy and we go on and on......

    Some use the word "rebound" to explain how the person acts after being taken off a psychiatric drug. You have to become familiar with those terms.

    You have to study all those terms and do not let these doctors destroy your baby's future, as I said he is being experimenting on. Prozac is not for babies.

    Study Dr. Wakefield findings about autism and MMR vaccine. MMR causing gastrointestinal problems in some autistic children.

    Lots to learn...for my son it was too late, hopefully is not for your baby.

    Old 10-15-2006, 01:03 AM   #10
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    Angry Re: Prozac and Autism

    hi my son is nearly sixteen ,and a year ago he stared being very aggresive ,you see he was having problems at school no one would lissen to me when i told them he was being picked on ,this is supposted to be a very good school for autisum , now things got very out of hand ,he lash out at people and grabs there hair and wont let go and i am scared for his future, his very tall and strong, he had a brack down , i got people invold who i thougth should be able to help ,the school only change his class a day before i got a social worker to see him in school,his on prozac now which has help him with his anxity,but still can be very aggresive when upset,more at school than at home,now theres going to be a meeting on friday and i have got a feeling his going to get chucked out ,it supposed to be the best school in the country ( england)i no that i should be pleased really as i feel school let him down big time ,blaming his moods on his homomes,
    i just hope when he starts the day centre things might get better ,finding poeple who actly care about him as a person is really hard ,the school dont take him out or let him do pe or swimming like the other kids,and he has not got speech therpy like he should have , i am very cross at moment as jon has two sisters who love him to bites and he cares about, he has a lovely personality and i feel if you get the right help things are good ,: but not every one is so lucky,

    Old 02-13-2007, 06:52 PM   #11
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Hi Noah's mom,
    I was just wondering how your son is doing now. Does he continue to improve? Have you seen any negative side effects? My son may also go on Prozac. Research has shown a link between a family history of depression/manic depression and autism. The Prozac is not necessarily for behavior control or for anxiety, it's to help balance out seritonin levels so kids on the spectrum can learn. Most of the research I have read has been very positive, but I too am worried about long-term effects. Please let me know ho you son is doing. I hope he is doing well (and you are too

    Old 02-14-2007, 12:12 PM   #12
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    I too am interested in how Noah is doing.

    Research on animals given SSRIs shows that the in the long run there is a reduction of innate serotonin production, a reduction in certain brain cells, and a decreased sensitivity of cell membranes to serotonin.

    It will take a while to accumulate evidence on whether this is also occurring in toddler brains on Prozac, but there's every reason to believe it likely is. And perhaps to an even greater extent, since human neurological development occurs over a much longer total time frame than does brain dev in rats. The brain is very sensitive to many influences in the early developmental stages.

    Brain chemicals other than serotonin are affected by Prozac. There is an interaction between them in terms of feedback loops & balance. The effect of giving an SSRI like Prozac isn't really like "topping off" low serotonin as you might "top off" the oil in your car if it's a bit low. Our brains & bodies are much more dynamic & less mechanistic than the pharmaceutical companies would have us believe.

    Those who have concerns about long-term effects should IMO pay attention to that intuition. There are documented longterm effects in adults -- and not just those on the spectrum -- sometimes very serious side effects. If you carefully study the pharmaceutical literature on safety & efficacy trials of SSRIs including Prozac, the question quickly comes to mind: why are these short term studies? Prozac has been on the market for more than a decade, there's been ample opportunity for those long term studies, BUT ... doing them & revealing the research is not in the best interests of the manufacturers.

    There is considerable speculation among scientists regarding the high rate of pediatric bipolar disorder in US kids (all kids -- not just those on the spectrum), compared with those in other developed countries. The theory most commonly advanced is that US docs prescribe both stimulants and SSRIs to kids at a much higher rate than other countries. Backup evidence includes the observation that the "pediatric bipolar epidemic" parallels increases in RX rates for those drugs in children. In animals, there is evidence that these drugs, administered to the developing mammalian brain, have potential to "prime it" for instability. And this would be a double whammy for kids on the spectrum, who already face a higher comorbidity for bipolar, regardless of family history for bipolar.

    But time will tell, whether or not Prozac is on balance, more helpful than not for our toddlers.

    Best wishes.

    Old 02-14-2007, 02:49 PM   #13
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    In my mind, rather than asking your son's doctors or the members of this forum IF your son should remain on Prozac, instead you should be asking the doctors WHY he is on Prozac. I can think of only 2 reasons why he is on prozac. One is that someone signed him up for a research study, the other is that he has some type of symptom, like severe and dangerous repetitive behaviors such as head banging until he is bruised or biting his knuckles until they are bloody, that the Prozac might help to relieve. Prozac is not used as a treatment for PDD per say, particularly in a child so young. So before you can decide if he should remain on it, you do first need to know why he is on it. Once you know that, then you can ask yourself if you think the prozac had a positive impact on the problem it was intended to treat. If you still have questions, check in with your pharmacist and ask their opinion too.

    As far as long term consequences of Prozac use we really don't have full answers to those questions. Prozac has been available for maybe 20 years now? Because it is available as a liquid its has frequently been used by children. If it had a drastic long term detrimental effect I would think we'd have some information about that now. But truly, the jury is still out on that issue and will be for some time to come. In the meantime, you have to make the decision that is best for your child. Find out why hes on it, and then decide if the drug is doing what its intended to do for him. Once you answer these 2 questions, you will know what choice to make for your child!
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    Old 02-18-2007, 10:32 PM   #14
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    bloody hell.. theyre drugging up toddlers.

    that has to be certified child abuse.

    im not fond of the concept of feeding little babies mind altering drugs. theyre also giving toddlers "with ADD symptoms" riddelin.
    Please excuse any gramatical/spelling errors, I have a verbal disability.

    Last edited by iyami; 02-18-2007 at 10:38 PM.

    Old 02-19-2007, 09:15 AM   #15
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    Re: Prozac and Autism

    Originally Posted by iyami View Post
    bloody hell.. theyre drugging up toddlers.

    that has to be certified child abuse.

    im not fond of the concept of feeding little babies mind altering drugs. theyre also giving toddlers "with ADD symptoms" riddelin.
    That is pretty harsh. I believe it is important not to judge others too harshly. Parents that decide to use Prozac with their children do not come to that decision lightly. There are alot of issues to be weighed before deciding what is best for an individual child.

    Last edited by BetsyAnn; 02-19-2007 at 09:24 AM.

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