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Apr 18

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New Obesity Treatment Shows Promise for Autism

New Obesity Treatment Shows Promise for Autism

New Obesity Treatment Shows Promise for Autism

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that showed children and teens with autism were more likely to be overweight.

This may not be your personal experience, as it is not our experience, with our grandson who is on the spectrum.   But for those of you who have autistic children that are overweight, the study states that compared to other groups, the risk of obesity in teenagers with autism was twice as high.

Now, new research reveals that a common diabetes drug can offer hope for children who suffer from both autism and obesity.

Obesity Treatment Options

Although the diabetes drug is common, the treatment plan is new. Researchers found that antipsychotic medications were often responsible for the significant weight gain seen in children and teens with autism. They discovered that the diabetes drug metformin could help this group of patients. Compared to a placebo group, children between the ages of 6 to 17 who received metformin were able to lose a significant amount of weight.

There are other obesity treatment options such as exercise and diet plans, but these are not always easy to follow for patients who have autism. Behavioral and social issues can make playing teams sports a challenge. In addition, gut problems and food sensitivities can make strict diets a nightmare for households that have children with autism. The new research indicates that metformin can help.

Understand the Details

Researchers point out that many children with autism are placed on antipsychotic medications to control their behavior, but the side effects are not considered. One researcher mentions that using these strong medications at an early age can have lasting consequences as the children get older. Obesity is just one of the complications that is appearing more frequently. If obesity is ignored in its early stages, it can lead to other issues such as heart disease.

Parents who have children with autism may want to talk to their doctors and discuss obesity if it is a concern. The diabetes drug metformin is one option, but other alternatives can also be considered. The key is to seek help and not ignore serious obesity in children.

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2 comments

  1. 1
    texasinak

    Excellent post. I work in mental health field, and the decision to put children on medications has to consider all possible side effects. The more educated the physician can help the parents to become the better.

    1. 1.1
      Colleen

      I totally agree!

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