This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Antidepressants for autism?

Temple Grandin says she's been on various ones since her early 30s:

Fifty mg of Tofranil at bedtime worked like magic. Within a week, the feelings of nervousness started to go away. After being on Tofranil for four years I switched to 50 mg Norpramin (desipramine), which has fewer side effects. These pills have changed my life. Colitis and other stress-related health problems were cured....

My "nerve" attacks would go in cycles, and I have had relapses while on the drug. [Prozac] It took will power to stick with the 50 mg dose and let the relapse subside on its own. Taking the medicine is like adjusting the idle screw on a car's carburetor. Before taking the drug, the engine was racing all the time. Now it runs at normal speed. I no longer fixate, and I am no longer "driven." Prozac and Anafranil (clomipramine) have been very effective in autistics who have obsessive-compulsive symptoms or obsessive thoughts which race through their heads. The effective doses for Prozac have ranged from two 20 mg capsules per week to 40 mg per day.....

During the eight years I have been taking antidepressants, there has been a steady improvement in my speech, sociability, and posture. The change was so gradual that I did not notice it. Even though I felt relief from the "nerves" immediately, it takes time to unlearn old behavior patterns.

She says elsewhere that she knows a lot of autistics who have done well on Prozac.

I'm guessing her particular success could be because of the drug combo (Tofranil+Prozac). ? If she says she feels better, why wouldn't ssri drugs be the ticket? She sounds functional, has a career, has written a book, and lectures on brain health.

asked Feb 26, 2015 by raintree

2 Answers

Good question. The highly popular and successful drug called Amitriptylinne is known to inhibit serotonin re-uptake, and Peat has told me he believes it to be safe. The whole SSRI debate is extremely confusing to me. I have tried amitriptyline and I definitely think it helped my mood. Meanwhile, I have tried anti-serotonin drugs like cyproheptadine and felt it was making me depressed. Also, Benadryl led to the discovery of antidepressants and I believe it raises serotonin. And I find Benadryl to help my mood moreso than cyproheptadine. I'm sure it's not black and white and there are a lot more variables than I am considering, but maybe prozacs function is not completely understood. Regardless, Prozac has fluoride in it so I don't think I would take it anyway.

answered Feb 26, 2015 by Broda Barnes

Prozac has fluorine, not fluoride. Fluoride refers to the free fluorine ion, but in prozac the fluorines are part of the molecule and probably don't detach willy nilly (fluorine-carbon bonds are extremely strong). It's a reasonable error to make.

Seems like these drugs have some effect on oxytocin which might reasonably explain the increased sociability (and reduction of repetitive behaviour).

answered Feb 27, 2015 by Spokey