A clinical trial of combined anti-androgen and anti-heavy metal therapy in autistic disorders.

BACKGROUND: A medical hypothesis has suggested that some autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may result from interactions between the methionine cycle-transsulfuration and androgen pathways following exposure to mercury.

METHODS: The IRB of the Institute for Chronic Illnesses approved the present study. A novel treatment was utilized combining LUPRON (leuprolide acetate, TAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) and CHEMET (meso-2, 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid--DMSA, McNeil Consumer Products Company) on 11 consecutive children with ASDs.

RESULTS: A significant (p<0.01) overall improvement from the 70-79th percentile of severity (median baseline score=87) at baseline to the 40-49th percentile of severity (median end of study period score=63) at the end of the study was observed for patients treated for a median of approximately 4 months. Significant improvements in sociability, cognitive awareness, behavior, and clinical symptoms/behaviors of hyperandrogenemia were also observed. Significant decreases in blood androgens and increases in urinary heavy metal concentrations were observed. Minimal drug adverse effects were found.

CONCLUSION: This study provides the first clinical evidence for the benefit that combined anti-androgen and anti-heavy metal therapy may have on some children with ASDs. Additional studies should examine androgen and heavy metal mechanisms of action in ASDs, and future ASD treatment protocols should consider androgens and heavy metals.

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