Malpractice News

June 8, 2013

Experimental drug for autism to be discontinued

For 300 families, the discontinuance of the experimental drug arbaclofen is a blow. This drug was in the clinical trials phase to see whether it could ease the symptoms of autism and fragile X syndrome. It has not, however, met the goals the research company Seaside Therapeutics set for it. And now, with the company running out of money it has announced they will no longer supply the drug to its former trial participants.

Drug’s benefits not proven

According to The New York Times, “the setback is a blow in the effort to treat autism since the drug, arbaclofen, was one of the furthest along in clinical trials. And the company’s decision has caused both heartbreak and outrage among some patients.” Though its benefits could not be proved for all patients, some parents were convinced the drug had helped decrease their children’s symptoms. And this blow to the families begs the question about what drug companies owe patients who participate in their clinical trials. The New York Times also pointed out that the failure of this trial points to “the difficulties in developing drugs to treat autism and fragile X syndrome.”

Autistic symptoms difficult to pinpoint

A problem researchers have had with developing a drug to treat autism is that “the symptoms and behaviors . . . vary widely among individuals, making it hard to capture the effects of a drug by looking at any one measure.” Researchers have also wondered whether the supposed benefits of the drug couldn’t just be the delusions of hopeful parents.


Site design and development by Design Spike®, Inc.