A double-blind trial with naltrexone in autism

R. Scifo, N. Batticane, M. C. Quattropani, G. Spoto, B. Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we investigate the effects of a therapy with the long-acting opioid antagonist naltrexone on autistic behavior. Twelve autistic patients, with ages ranging from 7 to 16 years, diagnosed according to the DSM-III-R, entered a double-blind cross-over study for 30 weeks. Naltrexone was administered at 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 mg/kg once every 48 hours. The behavioral evaluation was conducted using the specific Behavioral Summarized Evaluation and Childhood Autism Rating scales, and it revealed a significant reduction of autistic symptomatology in 7 children. No correlation was found between clinical condition and plasma endorphin levels. We discuss the possible influence of socioenvironmental factors on the efficacy of pharmacotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Dysfunction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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