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Unproven Treatments for Autism

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

The safety and effectiveness of some therapies used to treat autism is not known. Many unproven treatments circulate through websites, word of mouth, or the media. Most have not been subjected to thorough, sound research and are considered nonstandard and controversial. Be especially cautious about a treatment if:

Examples of current nonstandard, unproven therapies for autism that are receiving attention include:

Clonidine (Kapvay) and melatonin are medicines that are sometimes used to help manage overactive behavior and induce sleep in some people with autism. These medicines have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manage autism. Discuss the possible risks and benefits of clonidine and melatonin with your health professional before using them.

Always talk with a health professional before starting any little-known treatment for your child with autism. As is true for any treatment, be aware of the side effects and risks.


References

Citations

  1. Myers SM, et al. (2007, reaffirmed 2010). American Academy of Pediatrics clinical report: Management of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 120(5): 1162–1182.
  2. Nye C, Brice A (2009). Combined vitamin B6-magnesium treatment in autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics (1998, reaffirmed 2006). Auditory integration training and facilitated communication for autism. Pediatrics, 102(2): 431–433.

Credits for Unproven Treatments for Autism

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics


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