Autism Spectrum Disorder Shows Potential Improvement with 100-Year-Old Drug

100-year-Old Drug Reveals Potential Impact On Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder Shows Potential Improvement with 100-Year-Old Drug
Autism Spectrum Disorder Shows Potential Improvement with 100-Year-Old Drug

Clinical Trial studies drug’s potential affects on Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD as some refer to it has a wide range of autistic symptoms. Most children are affected by the disorder, but sometimes the symptoms can be severe. The question is, are they more problematic for the person experiencing autism or for the caregiver? Considering there are many childhood illnesses and problems parents must cope with, sometimes getting help is the only solution that makes sense.

A very old drug, Suramin, once used to treat African sleeping sickness and river blindness is now being tested to treat ASD. The drug can only be administered intravenously and therefore, only under strict supervision and with a professional to give it.


The adverse reactions to this drug are more significant than the possible treatment

They include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • General malaise
  • Tingling skin
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Jaundice
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising

However, Suramin has the potential according to some, to positively affect social communication, play, speech, language, calm, focus, repetitive behaviors and coping skills of autistic individuals.




Of biggest concerns is the drug loses its effect and improvements on the subject

This means the intended improvements wear off over time. Larger doses would then be a requirement for the drug to be effective. Thus the potential side effects, addiction or fatality complicate the treatment. The risks would continue to increase.

The real question remains, who risks the most in the complicated and stressful situation of managing an autistic child? Indeed, the study should include the overall mood of the child and their feeling of success or failure based on their abilities with and without drug enhancement.

It seems slightly irresponsible to inhibit ATP, which Suramin does when it is such an important ingredient in our everyday life function.

ATP is Adenosine Triphosphate. Its involvement in the production and absorption of sugar, oxygen, and energy is essential. This autism drug treatment prohibits ATP. It gives the cells a chance to relax. At the same time, one of the most important and efficient processes in our bodies becomes blocked. In the long term, this is not good.


Suramin is not an approved drug, nor is it a recommended treatment

The small clinical trial conducted, took place at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, by Robert Naviaux, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Naviaux studied 10 ASD boys between the ages of 5 to 14 years old. To 5 he injected the drug, and the other 5 received a placebo. All the boys who received the drug infusion showed improvements in language, coping skills, repetitive and social behaviors. Nevertheless, conclusions were based on observable assessments, interviews, exams, and questionnaires. The parents of the children with ASD documented symptom changes within a 6-week trial.

Up to date, there are no known treatments to improve the core symptoms from ASD. Dr. Naviaux concludes a metabolic dysfunction causes autism and other related chronic conditions. Nevertheless, much more intense and amplified study is necessary. Moreover, the cost of the trail was more than $500,000 over budget, and they need more to continue. Although this isn’t a simple clinical trial, it is still noteworthy and deserves more attention and concern.

The parents noticed more “at the moment” contact with their autistic child. Specifically, one parent recalls their child maintaining eye contact for a notable amount of time. Evidently, this indicates a connection beyond normal expectations from an autistic child.

Autism is a condition difficult to analyze and treat. Certainly, traditional therapies might be possible along with possible metabolic inhibitors.


References: Wikipedia, UC San Diego Health, Science