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The use of Ginkgo, Prozac and Focalin as a “treatment” for Down syndrome

Posted in Charities, Learning disability, Scientific research, Therapeutic treatments by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on November 1, 2008

A statement from Down Syndrome Education International (and others):

A combination of drugs recommended for depression and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder is being widely promoted as a “treatment” for Down syndrome. There is no scientific support for the routine use of this protocol by people who have Down syndrome. It is important that families and healthcare professionals are aware of the lack of evidence for safety and benefits from use of this protocol.

The full details add:

An organization called the Changing Minds Foundation is promoting a “new treatment for Down syndrome” that leads to “life changing” results. The “treatment” includes regular doses of Fluoxetine (Prozac), Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin XR) and Ginkgo biloba, Phosphatidylcholine, ‘Body Bio Balanced Oil’ and folinic acid. Some of these substances are associated with potential harmful side-effects…

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of any of this protocol with people with Down syndrome of any age in order to improve memory or any other aspect of cognition. Nor is there any evidence that this protocol is safe for routine use with people who have Down syndrome…

Scientific research has improved our understanding of Down syndrome considerably over the past 30 years. This has led to the better healthcare and education received by many people with Down syndrome today. Many scientists and organizations continue to work to improve our knowledge and understanding of effective ways to improve quality of life for people who live with Down syndrome.

Although the pace of further progress is often slow and this can be frustrating, only careful research and rigorous controlled trials can provide the evidence necessary to demonstrate that a therapy is useful and safe.

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