Is There Medication for FASD? Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed on 4/29/2022
Is There Medication for FASD
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a permanent condition with no specific medication or cure. Learn about treatment options that can help manage symptoms

Unfortunately, there is no medication specifically for treating fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). However, several medications may help reduce symptoms of FASDs.

How is FASD treated?

Although FASD is a permanent condition that has no cure, early intervention and treatment can manage symptoms and decrease the severity of some defects.

  • Medical care
  • Medications
  • Parent training
    • Educating parents about symptoms and how to help children cope with them
    • Creating a stable and consistent home environment and routine
  • Alternative approaches (involvement in special education and social services)

What are different types of FASD?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a group of symptoms that occurs due to fetal alcohol exposure, which can lead to physical, behavioral, and learning disabilities.

According to the CDC, less than two cases of FASD are diagnosed in every 1,000 live births in the United States. Types of FASD include the following:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): Most severe form of FASD
  • Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND): May cause intellectual, behavioral, and learning disabilities, including difficulties with math, memory, attention, judgment, and poor impulse control
  • Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD): May lead to problems with the heart, kidneys, bones, hearing, or a combination of these
  • Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (ND-PAE): May cause thinking and memory issues, behavior problems, and trouble with daily activities, including difficulty bathing, dressing, and playing with other children
  • Partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS): Similar characteristics to FAS but does not have all the symptoms of FAS

What causes FASD?

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause alcohol pass through the umbilical cord and can damage the developing fetus by:

  • Interfering with the normal development of nerve cells
  • Killing cells in different parts of the fetus
  • Constricting the blood vessels, slowing down the blood flow to the uterus, eventually leading to decreased oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus
  • Accumulating toxic by-products in the brain cells, causing severe damage

How is FASD diagnosed?

There is no specific examination or blood test available for confirming a diagnosis of FASD. However, diagnosis can be made based on

  • History of prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Mental health examination, such as problems with attention or poor coordination
  • Physical examination that assesses height, weight, and the presence of typical abnormal facial features


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Medically Reviewed on 4/29/2022
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basics about FASDs.

Cleveland Clinic. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

KidsHealth. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.