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Plasma beta-endorphin levels, naltrexone, and haloperidol in autistic children.

Author(s): Ernst M, Devi L, Silva RR, Gonzalez NM, Small AM, Malone RP, Campbell M

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016.

Publication date & source: 1993, Psychopharmacol Bull., 29(2):221-7.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Plasma beta-endorphin levels were measured in 13 autistic children, aged 3.67 to 11.67 years at the end of treatment (naltrexone, haloperidol, pimozide, or placebo) and in 5 of the 13 children also at baseline. Baseline plasma beta-endorphin levels were lower than those reported in the literature. There was a strong correlation between plasma beta-endorphin levels and severity of sterotypies in all children. Naltrexone did not seem to have a specific effect on plasma beta-endorphin levels; short-term haloperidol treatment was associated with an increase, whereas long-term haloperidol treatment seemed to have a depressive effect on plasma beta-endorphin levels, which rose after withdrawal of haloperidol.

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