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Children's Health

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New Treatments Help Children With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Ratings performed one month after treatment showed that patients in both the plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin groups were much improved. And treatment gains remained one year afterwards, with 14 of 17 subjects "much" or "very much improved." In contrast, symptoms changed little in the children who received placebo.

On average, children now had good functioning in all social areas, according to Swedo and colleagues. In addition, the parents often reported that "my child's back to his old self again," and children reported that "things are a lot easier now," write the authors.

"The study also appeared to demonstrate that one of the treatments, plasma exchange, was more effective than intravenous immunoglobulin in reducing the severity of tic symptoms, and may be more effective in also reducing OCD symptoms and functional impairment. Both treatments appeared to be generally well-tolerated by youngsters, which is important in determining the overall acceptability of this form of treatment to patients and their families," John Piacentini, PhD, says in an interview with WebMD. Piacentini is associate professor-in-residence at UCLA School of Medicine and the director of the Childhood OCD and Anxiety Program, which is also in Los Angeles.

"Patients and parents should have renewed hope that we will eventually discover the cause of their symptoms, and a curative treatment," Swedo says. "In the meantime, they should know that over 80% of patients with OCD and tics can be helped by medication and/or behavior therapy, so it's worth seeking treatment."

Harvey Singer, MD, director of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, presents his views about the study in an accompanying commentary. "Although potentially promising for the highly selected patient," these two therapies are not ready for routine use, he writes.

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