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Doctors Aim To Get Autism Drug On Market

Last updated on Friday, June 22, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Several major drug companies are working on what are believed to be the first medicines to target behavioral problems caused by autism.

Drug makers Roche and Seaside Therapeutics announced a partnership this week aimed at getting an autism drug on the market more quickly than their competitor, Novartis.

Craig Erickson with the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at IU Health says he is excited to see research into medicines when, just a few years ago, the pharmaceutical industry showed no interest in autism.

If these drugs make it to market, Erickson says they could potentially help autistic children with their social behavior and communication. He says current drugs used on some children, such as Zoloft, are only designed to treat symptoms like anxiety in general.

Autism drugs are still several years from being available. Erickson says they haven't made it past final stage testing, which means doctors still don't know if they actually work or if they are safe.

He says even if these medicines don't pan out, there should be a breakthrough within the next few years now that there is interest in developing autism medications.

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