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:1
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
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.
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.
Nye C, Brice A (2009). Combined vitamin B6-magnesium treatment in autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
American Academy of Pediatrics (1998, reaffirmed 2006). Auditory integration training and facilitated communication for autism. Pediatrics, 102(2): 431–433.
April 3, 2012
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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