Celexa failed autism study; kids got side effects

CHICAGO (AP) – CHICAGO (AP) - A study finds an antidepressant often prescribed for treating autism doesn't work for most kids.

The drug, Celexa, was found to cause nightmares and other side effects.

Celexa is not approved for treating autism. However, many doctors have prescribed it, thinking it might help prevent repetitive behaviors such as spinning, twirling and head-banging that are hallmark autism symptoms.

But in the study, Celexa worked no better than dummy pills. In fact, compared with kids on the placebo, those on Celexa were more than twice as likely to develop repetitive behaviors, as well as other side effects including sleep problems and hyperactivity.

The study is published in Archives of General Psychiatry.