Journal of autism and childhood schizophrenia

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 190–205

Effects of L-dopa in autism

Authors

  • Edward R. Ritvo
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Arthur Yuwiler
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Edward Geller
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Anthony Kales
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Shirley Rashkis
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Aric Schicor
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Selma Plotkin
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Robert Axelrod
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
  • Carla Howard
    • The Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA Center for the Health Sciences
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF01537957

Cite this article as:
Ritvo, E.R., Yuwiler, A., Geller, E. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (1971) 1: 190. doi:10.1007/BF01537957

Abstract

A study was designed to determine if blood serotonin concentrations could be lowered in autistic children by the administration of L-dopa and, if so, to observe possible clinical or physiological changes. Following a 17-day placebo period, four hospitalized autistic boys (3, 4, 9, and 13 years of age) received L-dopa for 6 months. Results indicated a significant decrease of blood serotonin concentrations in the three youngest patients, a significant increase in platelet counts in the youngest patient, and a similar trend in others. Urinary excretion of 5HIAA decreased significantly in the 4-year-old patient and a similar trend was noted in others. No changes were observed in the clinical course of the disorder, the amount of motility disturbances (hand-flapping), percent of REM sleep time, or in measures of endocrine function (FSH and LH). Possible mechanisms by which L-dopa lowered blood serotonin concentrations, increased platelet counts, and yet failed to produce other changes are discussed.

Copyright information

© Scripta Publishing Corporation 1971