Before we start talking about autism treatment, it should be made clear that no cure for autism currently exists. Any product that claims to “cure” autism should likely be avoided. This is also true for many products that claim to treat autism and its symptoms, as many of them pose serious health risks.
The Food and Drug Administration keeps track of all products, and does its best to warn any manufacturer making claims about products that are untrue or unproven. It’s a tough job, as many of these so-called autism cures are already on the market.
Stats delivered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that roughly 1 in 68 children will be identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD’s are nor specific to one particular ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic group, although they are about 4.5 times more prevalent in boys. Roughly 1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with ASD as opposed to 1 in 189 girls.
When describing children with autism, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) point to things like issues with verbal and nonverbal communication, obsessive interests, problems with social interaction, and a display of repetitive behaviors. While some ASD sufferers have mild behavioral issues, others have severe, almost disabling problems
The FDA has approved some drugs used to manage the symptoms related with autism. Included in this group are antipsychotics such as risperidone, which is prescribed to patients aged between 5 and 16. Aripripazole is another approved drugs, and is used on patients aged 6 of 17 who experience irritability due to their ASD. Rather than simply choosing a drug therapy that claims to treat or cure ASD, you should take time to talk to a health professional about your options.
The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) is a non-profit organization made up of health professionals and the parents of children with autism, all of whom are invested in the treatment and care of people suffering from the ailment. They know better than most that there is a long history of product fads and failed treatments for autism.
The FDA False Claims Crackdown
Commander Jason Humbert, M.H.S., R.N., a regulatory operations officer in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, claims that the FDA has either warned or taken action against several companies who have made improper claims about the efficacy of their autism products, especially as it pertains to the supposed treatment and cure. The list below shows just some of the autism therapies that could potentially pose a health risk:
- “Chelation Therapies.” The products that fall into this category claim to cleanse the body of heavy metals and toxic chemical. You can find them in a variety of different formats that include capsules, liquid baths, suppositories, sprays, and clay baths. The FDA has approved chelating agents for specific uses – lead poisoning, lead overload, etc. -, none of which includes the treatment of autism. The agents that have been approved are available by prescription only. If you have been prescribed a chelating agent, it should only ever be used under professional supervision. You can end up facing some potentially life-threatening health issues when chelating minerals that the body requires.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This is another method approved by the FDA, but once again only for specific uses, such as the treatment of decompression sickness. The treatment takes place inside a pressurized chamber, where the patient breathes oxygen.
- Detoxifying Clay Baths. These products are usually added to bath water for the goal of ridding the body of heavy metals, pollutants, and toxins. These are often marketed as providing a “dramatic improvement” of autism symptoms.
- Other Products. Items such as essential oils and raw camel milk are regularly marketed as treatments for autism, but they have not been proven safe or effective when used for this specific purpose.