Largely due to conventional medicine’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the autism epidemic, parents search the Internet for remedies to treat their affected offspring.
This is just a representative list of available products; allopathic, homeopathic and naturopathic. Some are quite helpful, some can mask underlying problems, some may be unhealthy, and others are of little value.
Abilify (apiprazole) – This anti-psychotic medication is one of the few that are considered “on label” for autism. Aggressive behaviors may abate somewhat in some of the patients. However, it frequently becomes less effective over time, and carries significant risk.
B12 (methyl vitamin B12 injections) – Doctors who successfully treat children with speech apraxia find a great deal of improvement with this valuable, inexpensive vitamin. The gut must be in relatively good health, and continuing S&L therapy is a must.
Carnosine (L-carnosine) – A useful, safe, amino acid supplement that can help articulation, especially after speech gets started. Dosages can be slowly increased to lessen any initial, short-lived surge in activity.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – The active form is remarkably low in many patients with ADHD and ASD. Correcting this vitamin deficiency often results in improvements with eye contact and cognition.
Early Intervention (Applied Behavioral Analysis, Speech and Language) – In the search for an autism ‘pill’, these proven treatments are often overlooked. As patients improve, such therapies become even more important.
Fluconazole (diflucan) – Whether it is due to the removal of yeast from the gut, or some other effect, this is an excellent off-label product to help behavior, sleep and concentration. Appropriate testing to document a healthy liver is a necessary step with this anti-fungal medicine.
Glutathione (GSH) – This is one of the most effective oral supplements to get things started on the road to recovery. Some formulations are better tolerated, and some seem to be more effective. Normalizing G-I health prior to administration is paramount.
Hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP) – A precursor of melatonin and serotonin, this safe amino acid can be an effective supplement to reduce anxiety and aggression, and to enhance sleep.
Intuniv (guanfacine) – Originally produced as a blood pressure medicine, it has been helpful in reducing anxious behaviors in some patients. Side effects include sleepiness, so dosage and timing are important.
Vitamin J (choline) - In the form of lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) and now, Vayarin (phosphatidylserine), high doses of this product may be helpful with repetitive (‘OCD’) and ADHD behaviors.
Kapvay (clonidine) – A heart-blood pressure medication, similar to Intuniv, that can be effective for severe sleep difficulties.
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) – A potent anti-seizure medication for aggression related to ASD. Side effects include, “Serious life-threatening rashes, including … death… more often in pediatric patients than in adults.”
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) – A natural hormone that can be very effective for children who won’t go to sleep. Dosages of 1-3 mg. are well tolerated and safe.
Naltrexone (Low Dose Naltrexone) – A narcotic antagonist medicine given in very low dosages, usually as a cream that is applied late at night. This is often helpful in reducing oppositional behaviors and improving immune function.
Oxytocin (Pituitary Hormone) – A naturally-occuring brain chemical that works peripherally on female organs, and centrally on the brain of males, as well. The literature and experience about its effectiveness on improving socialization is mixed.
Probiotics (live microorganisms) – A safe, inexpensive, and effective supplement to assist in the normalization of the G-I milieu known as the ‘microbiome’. Because the cells die as they pass down the gut, the higher the density of bacteria, the more effective the product.
Quercetin (Flavinoid) – A plant pigment, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat various and sundry medical conditions, with varying reports of effectiveness.
Risperdal (Risperdone) – Another anti-psychotic medication approved for use with ASD. Side effects include tics, overeating, and breast tissue development.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) – Medication for ADHD. Because it is not in the same stimulant category as Adderall or Ritalin, it is considered less toxic. However, the package insert carries this warning, “Increased risk of suicidal ideation…”
Tumeric (curcumin) – An herbal remedy that suppresses yeast in the G-I tract. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-cholesterol effects.
Ubiquinone (Co-Q10) – A natural supplement that has antioxidant properties to improve energy metabolism. This co-enzyme is fat soluble (often mixed with omega-3-fatty acids), and has few side effects.
Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) – A next generation stimulant medication for ADHD. On the positive side, the pill can be opened for ease of administration. However, the package insert carries this warning, “… a high potential for abuse and dependence.”
Wellbutrin (bupropion) – One of the many antidepressant medications prescribed to treat the apparent anxiety and ‘obsessive-compulsive’ behaviors that ASD patients experience. Such preparations include Prozac and Zoloft, other potent drugs with serious and significant side effects.
Ex-lax, Miralax, Pedialax (and other laxatives) – When ASD patients suffer from constipation, it should stimulate the doctor to discover the cause and intervene with healthier alternatives; such as diet, probiotics and lifestyle.
Yeast (saccromyces boulardii) – As opposed to Candida (‘bad’ yeast), these are the ‘good’ fungi that can assist in producing a healthy gut. Many patients are allergic to baker’s and brewer’s yeast, however, making this intervention impractical.
Zovirax (acyclovir) – For those who ascribe to a mostly-viral etiology for many cases of autism, the logical treatment is an antiviral medication. There are many potential serious side effects, and quite variable results, anecdotal reports notwithstanding.
All of those medications and supplements, and many more that are not listed. Nevertheless, to date, there is still so little real progress in the core deficiencies of communication, awareness and cognition.