Antibiotic Treatment For Children With Fragile X
April 10, 2013

Antibiotic Minocycline Could Benefit Children With Fragile X Syndrome

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

An older, broad-spectrum antibiotic has shown “modest” yet meaningful improvements in general behavior, mood and anxiety for children suffering from fragile X syndrome (FXS), claims a study published in this month´s edition of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers from the University of California-Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute recruited 66 children with FXS. Each subject was randomly assigned to three months of treatment with either the antibiotic minocycline or an inactive placebo, and following that three month period, each group switched to the other treatment method.

Neither the children´s parents nor their doctors knew which group was receiving which type of treatment until after the end of the study period, the researchers explained. A total of 55 patients completed the study, and overall the children experienced small but significant improvements in some areas when being treated with minocycline rather than placebo. Primarily, they scored better on the Clinical Global Impression Scale, which is used by doctors to measure the overall status of each patient.

“Children taking minocycline also had greater improvement in anxiety and mood-related behaviors, as rated by parents. Other outcomes were not significantly better with minocycline, including behavior problems and verbal functioning,” the MIND Institute explained in a statement. “Side effects were generally similar between groups, with no serious adverse effects. Minocycline may cause some discoloration of the teeth — a known side effect of minocycline and related antibiotics — which was seen in both treatment arms.”

“This study is important because minocycline is a targeted treatment for FXS that is currently available by prescription,” lead author Dr. Mary Jacena Leigh, an associate clinical professor of behavioral and developmental pediatrics with the Fragile X Treatment and Research Center at the MIND Institute, added in a statement.

Minocycline is an antibiotic most commonly used to treat severe acne, though studies in animal models and initial research in humans has suggested that it could benefit those with FXS, the researchers said.

They also explained that fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of intellectual impairment, as well as the primary single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorders. In fact, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that approximately 1 out of every 4,000 men and women have the condition, which is caused by a mutation on the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome.

Other authors of the study include Leigh´s UC Davis colleagues Danh V. Nguyen, Yi Mu, Andrea Schneider, Tasleem Checki, Jonathan Polussa, Paul Doucet, Flora Tassone, Susan M. Rivera, David Hessl and Randi J. Hagerman, as well as Tri Indah Winarni of Diponegoro University in Indonesia. The research was funded in part by a grant from the National Fragile X Foundation.