An Exploratory Trial of Transdermal Nicotine for Aggression and Irritability in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Mar 13;:

Authors: Lewis AS, van Schalkwyk GI, Lopez MO, Volkmar FR, Picciotto MR, Sukhodolsky DG

Abstract
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), particularly the α7 nAChR, are implicated in the pathophysiology of both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and aggressive behavior. We explored the feasibility, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of targeting nAChRs using transdermal nicotine to reduce aggressive symptoms in adults with ASD. Eight subjects were randomized in a double-blind crossover trial of 7 mg transdermal nicotine or placebo, each for 1 week. All participants tolerated nicotine treatment well. Five subjects contributed data to the primary outcome, Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Irritability (ABC-I) subscale change from baseline, which was improved by nicotine compared to placebo. Sleep ratings were also improved by nicotine and correlated with ABC-I improvement. These findings support further investigation of nAChR agonists for aggression and sleep in ASD.

PMID: 29536216 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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