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 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.
- 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.
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
Current as of: June 4, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.