Authors: Eleanor Eckert, Kelli Dominick, Ernest Pedapati, Logan Wink, Rebecca Shaffer, Howard Andrews, TseHwei Choo, Chen Chen, Walter E. Kaufmann, Nicole Tartaglia, Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, and Craig Erickson
Behavioral dysregulation, or the impairment of behavioral processes, is common in FXS. A regularly cited group of behaviors in individuals with FXS, particularly males, is irritability, agitation, aggression, and self-injurious (IAAS) behaviors. These behaviors can put a strain on both the individual and their caregiver’s quality of life and there is little information about how to manage these behaviors with medication. This publication in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders presented information from a FORWARD dataset involving 415 individuals with IAAS behaviors. The study describes the psychopharmacologic management of IAAS and examines the characteristics of individuals that are treated with drug therapy for IASS.
Findings showed that among the individuals with FXS that were exhibiting IAAS, those receiving drug treatment were more likely to be older males with significant intellectual disability. The individuals receiving drug treatment were also more likely to have comorbid autism, anxiety, hyperarousal, and social impairment. The medications most used in this population are antipsychotic medications, particularly aripiprazole and risperidone. Both aripiprazole and risperidone are FDA-approved for treating irritability associated with ASD. Individuals were also prescribed drugs outside of antipsychotic medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), stimulants, non-SSRI antidepressants, alpha-agonists, mood-stabilizers, and anxiolytics. Most individuals (63%) did not experience side effects from their drug treatment.
Why This Is Important
This study contributes to the limited understanding of psychopharmacologic management of IAAS in FXS and will help guide future treatment.
What Are the Next Steps
A deeper analysis of long-term drug treatment of various target symptoms, more specific evaluation of each behavior within the IAAS symptom category, and more extensive analysis of drug tolerability over time.
Drs. Berry-Kravis and Erickson presented on this topic using the FORWARD data in her presentation, “Medications for Fragile X: Anxiety, Irritable Behaviors, Aggression,” during the Fragile X Across the Lifespan event in the 17th NFXF International Fragile X Conference Virtual Series, summer 2020.
more research results
Telehealth-Enabled Behavioral Treatment for Problem Behaviors in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Dr. Hall and his team at Stanford University are learning about potential behavioral treatments for problem behaviors. Previous research suggests that problem behaviors, like aggression, self-injury, and property destruction, may occur at higher rates in individuals with FXS.
A Genotype-Phenotype Study of High-Resolution FMR1 Nucleic Acid and Protein Analyses in Fragile X Patients with Neurobehavioral Assessments
We know that FMRP is expressed throughout our body, including our blood, tissues, and brain. Levels of FMRP in the blood of patients with FXS have been positively correlated with cognitive performance, specifically intelligence quotient and adaptive behavior.
Clustering of Comorbid Conditions Among Women Who Carry an FMR1 Premutation
RESEARCH RESULTS ROUNDUP — The authors sought to clarify how often other health-related conditions, such as migraines and sleep problems, occur among women with a premutation.
Cerebellar-Cortical Function and Connectivity during Sensorimotor Behavior in Aging FMR1 Gene Premutation Carriers
RESEARCH RESULTS ROUNDUP — Investigation into how aging as a premutation carrier of the FMR1 gene may affect sensorimotor (exactly as it sounds, both sensory and motor) brain systems.
Inhibition Deficits Are Modulated by Age and CGG Repeat Length in Carriers of the FMR1 Premutation Allele Who Are Mothers of Children with Fragile X Syndrome
RESEARCH RESULTS ROUNDUP — Older mothers of children with Fragile X syndrome who have mid-range CGG repeats (~80–100) may be at increased risk for difficulties with inhibition.
Language Across the Lifespan in Fragile X Syndrome: Characteristics and Considerations for Assessment
RESEARCH RESULTS ROUNDUP — Describe cognition and language in FXS using the data from a large group, while trying to understand if the standard assessments are feasible (able to be done accurately) and valid (reflect reality) in FXS and then compared the assessment results to caregiver report.