'I-28Sfuuy-WR10okMSia3VYeZTm2RHA2LZDel59TlF8' name='google-site-verification'/>www ghs.google.com 6dseurqgapmn gv-v6egtfduggmq3k.dv.googlehosted.com Autismwarriormama: Might Galantamine Help Some Autistic Patients?

Living with Autism


August 26, 2013

Might Galantamine Help Some Autistic Patients?

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryA few years ago, my son had a fMRI that showed blunted choline. This has always bothered me. So, after a ton of research, I asked my son's psychiatrist why not try Galantamine, a substance extracted from a flowering plant called the snowdrop (and marketed both as a nutrient and as a drug under the name Reminyl), to see if will enhance choline? I faxed him the research. He wrote a prescription.

 Within a few weeks of giving our autistic son 4mg Galantamine H.S. (at night) we saw a MAJOR increase in eye contact. It's been several months, and the increased eye contact continues.

Any other evidence Galantamine helps autistic individuals? Yes.

In a 2006 study, published in the Journal of Child Adolescent Psychopharmacology,  Rob Nicolson and colleagues administered galantamine for 12 weeks to 13 autistic children in an open-label trial, where parents and a physician rated children monthly using two different behavioral scales.

According to this study: “Patients showed a significant reduction in parent-rated irritability and social withdrawal on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist as well as improvements in emotional lability and inattention on Conners’ Parent Rating Scale. Similarly, clinician ratings showed reductions in the anger subscale of the
Children’s Psychiatric Rating Scale.”

Additionally, 8 out of the 13 children were judged to be responders on the Clinical Global Impressions scale. Based on these findings, researchers suggest Galantamine may be particularly beneficial for autistic children who exhibit aggression, out-of-control behavior, and inattention. They further note that while galantamine’s effects in this study were more modest than the effects of risperidone (one of the most common drug treatments for autism), galantamine—unlike risperidone— appears to have few significant side effects.

Good news, considering late night commercials show recent lawsuits suing makers of Risperdal after the drug gave autistic males boobs. Yes, boobies. Breasts. Boobs. Not only boobs, but lactating boobs.
How weird is that? One can only imagine what the heck is in Risperdal that would cause that to happen....

Anyway, the above study on Galantamine is consistent with those of an earlier study by Helmut Niederhofer et al. (see ARRI 16/4), which found that Galantamine was at least moderately effective in reducing the behavior problems of autistic children who did not respond to other medications. 

Historical fact: Back in the 1950's, Russian doctors isolated Galantamine from a plant called the Caucasian Snowdrop.

Is Galantamine contraindicated for patients who also have epilepsy? According to one study, the answer is no. And from what we've seen, there has been no increase in our autistic son's seizure activity with the adding of 4mg of Galantamine at night. See below study for further insight....

The safety and tolerability of galantamine in patients with epilepsy and memory difficulties.


Department of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-0017, USA. rlgriffith@uabmc.edu


Individuals with epilepsy commonly experience memory loss. We investigated the safety and tolerability of galantamine in treatment of memory loss in a pilot study of 28 patients with epilepsy, randomly assigned to galantamine (n=13) or placebo (n=15) and followed for a total of 12 weeks. Participants underwent blinded memory assessment at baseline and 12 weeks (Selective Reminding Test, 7/24 Spatial Recall). One participant in the galantamine group had a suspected recurrence of brain neoplasm and increased seizures; all other participants receiving galantamine showed no increase in seizure activity during the trial. Patients in both groups reported mild, tolerable side effects (headache, appetite suppression), with no difference between groups. No significant differences were observed on the memory measures when both groups were retested at Week 12. Galantamine appears to be safe and tolerable in patients with epilepsy.

A recent study, published in October 2013, from researchers in Iran, further supports Galantamine in treating autism. See, "Galantamine efficacy and tolerability as augmentative therapy in autistic children. A randomized, double-blind, placebo study."

 2010 Jan;40(1-2):211-6. doi: 10.1007/s12031-009-9236-1.

Mechanisms of neuroprotective effects of nicotine and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors: role of alpha4 and alpha7 receptors in neuroprotection.


Department of Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan. aakaike@pharm.kyoto-u.ac.jp


Neurotoxicity induced by glutamate and other excitatory amino acids has been implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders including hypoxic ischemic events, trauma, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. We examined the roles of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in survival of CNS neurons during excitotoxic events. Nicotine as well as other nicotinic receptor agonists protected cortical neurons against glutamate neurotoxicity via alpha4 and alpha7 nAChRs at least partly by inhibiting the process of apoptosis in near-pure neuronal cultures obtained from the cerebral cortex of fetal rats. Donepezil, galanatamine and tacrine, therapeutic acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors currently being used for treatment of Alzheimer's disease also protected neuronal cells from glutamate neurotoxicity. Protective effects of nicotine and the AChE inhibitors were antagonized by nAChR antagonists. Moreover, nicotine and those AChE inhibitors induced up-regulation of nAChRs. Inhibitors for a non-receptor-type tyrosine kinase, Fyn, and janus-activated kinase 2, suppressed the neuroprotective effect of donepezil and galantamine. Furthermore, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor also suppressed the neuroprotective effect of the AChE inhibitors. The phosphorylation of Akt, an effector of PI3K, and the expression level of Bcl-2, an anti-apoptotic protein, increased with donepezil and galantamine treatments. These results suggest that nicotine as well as AChE inhibitors, donepezil and galantamine, prevent glutamate neurotoxicity through alpha4 and alpha7 nAChRs and the PI3K-Akt pathway.
Galantamine augments dopaminergic neurotransmission within the hippocampus by enhancing the activity of acetylcholine receptors. Low dose Galantamine treatment sounds like a promising new treatment in autistic patients who suffer from difficulty sustaining eye contact and controlling behaviors. 

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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