Oral famotidine: A potential treatment for children with autism

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Famotidine (Pepcid®), a histamine-2 receptor blocker, is marketed for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux, and the treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions, including the Zollinger- Ellison syndrome. Recent reports indicate that it is also effective in relieving the deficit (or withdrawal) symptoms of adults with schizophrenia. Autism, a neuropsychiatric disorder which presents within the first few years of life, is defined by deficient social interaction, communication, language, play, and a markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests. Similarities between the deficit symptoms of schizophrenia and the social deficit symptoms of autism suggest the hypothesis that famotidine may be useful in treating children with autism. Histamine serves as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator in the brain. H2-receptors in the brain predominantly transmit inhibitory signals; when these receptors are stimulated in animals, spontaneous activity and exploratory behavior decrease; blockade of H2-receptors would therefore be expected to reverse this inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-386
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes


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