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PANDAS Treatment

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Treating Pediatric PANDAS

PANDAS, which can mimic other disorders requires a test for the strep bacteria or a history of the bacteria is necessary to confirm your child has PANDAS. If strep doesn’t show up after a throat swab or antibody test, a check of other places strep tends to hide, like the child’s bottom, genitals, or sinuses is recommended. A blood test will indicate if the child had a recent strep infection even if they recovered.


The first treatment option for PANDAS is to treat the strep infection causing the symptoms with antibiotics if it is still present. Children with PANDAS-related obsessive-compulsive symptoms will benefit from standard behavioral therapies and medications used for OCD. OCD symptoms are treated best with a combination of CBT and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication. Antibiotics may improve psychiatric symptoms, but they’ll likely still need to be addressed separately. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help manage mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and emotional concerns, such as coping with grief or stress. This is achieved by challenging cognitive errors and reframing them more rationally.


Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus

Kids with PANDAS and PANS will also have other new symptoms. Around 70% of people with PANS/PANDAS have tics. Other symptoms can include jerky movements, anxiety, depression, or mood swings. Tics respond to a variety of medications.


Sometimes, a child can “outgrow” PANDAS if the strep infection is treated, but not always. If the child gets another strep infection, the PANDAS will almost certainly come back if it wasn’t treated the first time. Untreated, PANDAS may continue to worsen and can result in permanent cognitive damage. For some children, PANDAS can become a chronic autoimmune condition. Most children who have PANDAS recover completely with treatment.


Our Fast Access Neurology (FAN) Service ensures a clinic visit with expert pediatric neurologist in our institution within 24 to 72 hours after referral or initial contact with the Children’s Brain Institute.

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