Fenfluramine treatment in infantile autism neurochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral effects

Gerald J. August, Naftali Raz, Andrew C. Papanicolaou, Teresa Davis Baird, Sharon L. Hirsh, Louise L. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


As part of a multicenter, collaborative project, response to fenfluramine was assessed in 10 autistic outpatients. After 4 months of treatment, blood serotonin concentrations decreased an average of 60 per cent and returned to pretreatment levels after 2 months on placebo. This reduction was accompanied by a decrease in certain behavioral symptoms, including motor activity, distractibility, and mood disturbances. Baseline evoked potential recordings indicated that autistic patients tended to have a larger amplitude of the P3 component to frequent tones as compared to age-matched controls. A tendency toward “normalization” of the P3 effect was observed during the medication trial and during the final placebo period. Treatment response was not related to initial serotonin levels, and no major clinical side effects were associated with fenfluramine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-612
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1984


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