Holland Bloorview’s Autism Research Centre leads metformin study on weight gain prevention in youth with autism

Medical Director of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network calls metformin research "critical"

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, co-lead of the Autism Research Centre, runs the only Canadian study site looking at metformin and weight gain prevention in children with autism. She and her team are conducting this clinical research in children with autism who take medication for behaviour. Substantial weight gain is often a side effect of behavioural medication, and parents are in the difficult position of prioritizing their child’s physical health or the beneficial effects of medication for autism.

The Medical Director of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN), Dr. Daniel Coury, recently highlighted the metformin research happening at four research sites, including Holland Bloorview. Dr. Coury, a developmental pediatrician and chief of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said he "believe[s] this critical study has the potential to improve the health of thousands of children with autism."

Read Dr. Coury's piece on the Autism Speaks website.

A recent summary study by Yuya Mizuno showed promising results for metformin as a weight gain prevention tool for individuals who take behavioural medication.

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou explains that an increasing number of children with autism take medication to help with challenging behaviours. “These recent findings are promising because they indicate we’re on the right track with metformin,” says Dr. Anagnostou. “And we think it's crucial to be partnered with the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network on this current research to improve the health of children with autism and keep them on the medications that work for them.”

Holland Bloorview is the only Canadian research site to conduct clinical research on metformin and weight gain prevention for children with autism. This study is part of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. The study is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, as part of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health.

For more information about the metformin clinical trial, visit the Autism Research Centre’s research information site.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Bloorview Research Institute

Holland Bloorview is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life.

Located onsite, the Bloorview Research Institute is the only hospital-embedded pediatric rehabilitation institute in Canada. Established in 2004, the internationally recognized Bloorview Research Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities through client and family-centred rehabilitation research.

Media contact:

Claire Florentin, Senior Communications Associate
Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
416-425-6220 ext. 3497