Research on animal models of fragile X syndrome suggests that STX209, a γ-aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) agonist, might improve neurobehavioral function in affected patients. We evaluated whether STX209 improves behavioral symptoms of fragile X syndrome in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study in 63 subjects (55 male), ages 6 to 39 years, with a full mutation in the FMR1 gene (>200 CGG triplet repeats). We found no difference from placebo on the primary endpoint, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist - Irritability (ABC-I) subscale. In the other analyses specified in the protocol, improvement was seen on the visual analog scale ratings of parent-nominated problem behaviors, with positive trends on multiple global measures. Post hoc analysis with the ABC - Social Avoidance scale, a newly validated scale for the assessment of fragile X syndrome, showed a significant beneficial treatment effect in the full study population. A post hoc subgroup of 27 subjects with more severe social impairment showed improvements on the Vineland II- Socialization raw score, on the ABC - Social Avoidance scale, and on all global measures. STX209 was well tolerated, with 8% incidences of sedation and of headache as the most frequent side effects. In this exploratory study, STX209 did not show a benefit on irritability in fragile X syndrome. Nonetheless, our results suggest that GABAB agonists have potential to improve social function and behavior in patients with fragile X syndrome.
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