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Importance of FX Specialty Clinics

Importance of a specialty clinic for individuals with fragile X syndrome.


Advances in human genetics have identified a significant number of genetic disorders associated with intellectual disability. As a result, appropriate clinical management of these affected individuals and their family members have become critical in addressing medical needs to improve quality of life. We examine the importance of a Fragile X Clinic for individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS) and their family members by conducting a retrospective chart review of 123 new patients with FXS evaluated at the Fragile X Clinic at Emory University. After the initial diagnosis of a proband with FXS with cascade testing, there were 345 family members identified with a mutation (70% with premutations; 30% with full mutations). In terms of the impact of the clinic visit, males had a substantial number of new diagnoses in all behavioral disorders (P < 0.001), with anxiety (62%) being the most common. For female probands, the most frequent diagnosis was also anxiety (87%). Prior to the clinic visit, very few patients were prescribed psychotropic medications. After the clinic visit, the most frequently prescribed psychotropic medications for males were stimulants (41%; P < 0.001) and SSRIs (40%; P < 0.001). For females, only stimulants (33%; P = 0.03) and SSRIs (44%; P = 0.008) were statistically significantly prescribed. Our results revealed that there is a gap in care to address the co-morbid behavioral issues, psychopharmacologic medication management, and genetic counseling needs regarding FXS. A multidisciplinary setting and approach, such as that offered by a Fragile X Clinic, is one method of treating the complex needs of patients with FXS.

Visootsak J, Kidd SA, Anderson T, Bassell JL, Sherman SL, Berry-Kravis EM. 2016. Importance of a specialty clinic for individuals with fragile X syndrome. Am J Med Genet Part A 170A:3144–3149.

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