Conflict of interest: None declared.
Complementary and alternative medicine for autism spectrum disorders: Rationale, safety and efficacy
Article first published online: 20 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Author. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 9, pages E438–E442, September 2013
How to Cite
Whitehouse, A. J. (2013), Complementary and alternative medicine for autism spectrum disorders: Rationale, safety and efficacy. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: E438–E442. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12242
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 20 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 DEC 2012
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Grant Number: 1004065
- alternative medicine;
- autism spectrum disorder;
- complementary medicine;
Complementary and alternative medicine is widely used for children with autism spectrum disorder, despite uncertainty regarding efficacy. This review describes complementary and alternative practices commonly used among this population, the rationale for the use of each practice, as well as the side-effect profile and evidence for efficacy. The existing evidence base indicates that melatonin can be recommended as a treatment for sleeping disturbances associated with autism spectrum disorder, while secretin can be rejected as an efficacious treatment for broader autistic symptoms. There is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on the efficacy of modified diets, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, immune therapy, and vitamin and fatty acid supplementation. There is a clear need for methodologically rigorous studies to provide evidence-based guidance to families and clinicians regarding complementary and alternative practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.