Is the FDA growing a pair and going after autism “treatment” quacks?

This one’s going to be short, I promise.



It was with a lot of glee that I read this consumer update from the Food and Drug Administration concerning “False or Misleading Claims for Treating Autism”. Indeed, the glee I felt was only eclipsed by the gnashing of teeth and guttural screams in horror from the so-called “autism advocates” out there who believe, among other things, that industrial chelators and bleach enemas will somehow “treat” or “cure” autism. The consumer update states:

“April is National Autism Awareness Month, a fitting time to think about the growing need for concern and awareness about autism.

One thing that is important to know up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism. Some may carry significant health risks.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning these companies against making false or misleading claims.”

There you go. It doesn’t matter how much some people interested in selling quackery to you (at a very high price) believe that autism can be cured, it can’t. Autism is a neurological developmental delay. That delay means that there will come a time when the person with autism will reach some milestones. That is only progress in their delay, not a cure. I know that there are parents of autistics who will claim to have “recovered their children” (as if their children were lost or dead), and they will claim that some miraculous treatment did it. In fact, all of the evidence points to the fact that those miracles were nothing more than a simple catching up of the child who was delayed.

The update continues:

“According to Gary Coody, R.Ph., FDA’s national health fraud coordinator, the agency has warned a number of companies that they are facing possible legal action if they continue to make false or misleading claims about products and therapies claiming to treat or cure autism.”

The update then goes on to list several “treatments” that are, at best, based on magic:

” “Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under medical supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. It has not been cleared for autism, among other conditions.

Miracle Mineral Solution. Also known as Miracle Mineral Supplement and MMS, this product becomes a potent chemical that‘s used as bleach when mixed according to package directions. FDA has received reports of consumers who say they experienced nausea, severe vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure after drinking the MMS and citrus juice mixture.

Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body, falsely offering “dramatic improvement” for autism symptoms.

CocoKefir probiotics products. Product claims include being a “major key” to recovery from autism, but they are not proven safe and effective for this advertised use.”

All of this leads me to wonder if the FDA is finally going to “grow a pair” and do something about all of these quack therapies for autism. I hope they do.

6 thoughts on “Is the FDA growing a pair and going after autism “treatment” quacks?

  1. Narad, I was disappointed to get the same result you did when looking at the FDA warning letters. No current wave of new warnings. Still a good consumer advisory though.

  2. All of this leads me to wonder if the FDA is finally going to “grow a pair” and do something about all of these quack therapies for autism.

    I doubt that this signals any upcoming action. The CocoKefir stuff is from 2011. HBOT might date back to 2003. They issued warning letters to chelation marketers in 2010. “Consumer warnings” about MMS seem to come out regularly. Detoxifying clay? 2010.

  3. I hope they act. it’s about time they take steps to protect children against these untested, potentially dangerous treatments.

    • It is only regrettable that any physician involved in such practices cannot be prohibited from practicing in every state and territory of the nation.

Comments are closed.