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Are there treatments for Fragile X syndrome?

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Medication options

Currently, there is no medication that can cure Fragile X. Further, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs specifically for the treatment of Fragile X or its causes. But, in many cases, medications 18 have been used to treat many of the symptoms associated with Fragile X, as shown in the table on the next page. Please note that the NICHD does not endorse or support the use of any of these medications in treating symptoms of Fragile X syndrome, or for other conditions for which the medications are not FDA approved.

Medication is most effective when paired with therapy designed to teach new coping skills or behavior. Not every medication helps every child with behavioral symptoms related to Fragile X. Doctors usually prescribe these kinds of medications on a trial basis, to see if they help. If so, the doctor may need to adjust the dose to meet the needs of each child.

This chart is meant for reference ONLY and should not take the place of your health care provider’s advice. You should discuss any questions you may have about medication with your health care provider directly

Some of these medications have serious risks involved with their use; others may make symptoms worse at first or may take several weeks to become effective. Doctors may have to try different dosages or different combinations of medications to find the most effective plan. Families, caregivers, and doctors need to work together to ensure that a medication is working, and that a medication plan is safe.

Symptoms Genetic Medications (Brand names in parentheses)

Seizures
Mood instability

  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Valproic acid or divalproex (Depakote)
  • Lithium carbonate
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Topiramate (Topomax), tiagabine
    (Gabitril), and vigabatrin (Sabril)
  • Phenobarbital and primidone (Mysoline)
Attention deficit
(With or without hyperactivity)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) and dexamethamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine)
  • L-acetylcarnitine
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor) and nefazodone (Serzone)
  • Amantadine (Symmetrel)
  • Folic acid
Hyperarousal
Sensory over-stimulation
(Often occurs with ADD/ADHD)
  • Clonidine (Catapres TTS patches)
  • Guanfacine (Tenex)
Aggression
Intermittent explosive disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
(Often occurs with anxiety and/or depression)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) and citalopram (Celexa)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Olanzepine (Zyprexa)
Sleep disturbances
  • Trazadone
  • Melatonin

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Last Updated Date: 08/18/2006
Last Reviewed Date: 08/18/2006
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