Quote from latest Australian Doctors
TITLE: Autism driving parents to extreme therapies
26 March, 2014 Kate Aubusson
From chelation to stem cells, and secretin infusions to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, there is no shortage of "extreme therapies" on offer for children with autism.
Now, rising concern about the issue has prompted advice for doctors to directly confront parents about their use of alternative medicines for autism.
In new guidelines, the influential American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is for the first time urging doctors to tackle the subject head-on.
"In most instances, these treatments have little or no proved benefit but have little risk," the guideline authors say, citing popular remedies such as vitamin B6, magnesium and gluten-free diets.
Other treatments, however, posed a very serious risk of harm, they said.
Chelation, an IV therapy that purports to strip heavy metals from the body, is a legacy of the MMR—autism scare. Studies have found it offers no benefit for autism, and it has been linked to cardiac arrest and liver damage.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, meanwhile, can cause sinus pain, paralysis and embolism.
Potential adverse effects of stem cell therapy include cancer, infection and immune system rejection.
Up to 80% of Australian children with autism are thought to be given some form of complementary or alternative medicine.
Some travel to countries like China to receive stem cell therapy with no way of knowing what they are actually getting, said autism expert Dr James Best, a GP and co-author of ACRRM's autism management handbook.
"These extreme therapies are definitely a no-no," he said.
"It is entirely inappropriate to use any of these treatments that have known risks."
Dr Best urged Australian GPs to follow the US recommendations, saying doctors often underestimated the extent to which desperate parents were in thrall to treatments advertised online.
"If you Google 'treatment for autism' the first thing you'll find are these extreme therapies," he said.
"I've seen parents turn away from evidence-based medicine and instead put all their hopes, money and resources into alternative therapies."
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2014; online.
まずは Best interest of the child with autism!