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Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(5):979-87. Epub 2006 Dec 5.

Spironolactone might be a desirable immunologic and hormonal intervention in autism spectrum disorders.

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International Child Development Resource Center, Melbourne and Florida Hospital, Celebration, 1688 West Hibiscus Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901, United States.


Multiple studies now demonstrate that autism is medically characterized, in part, by immune system dysregulation, including evidence of neuroglial activation and gastrointestinal inflammation. This neuroglial process has further been characterized as neuroinflammation. In addition, a subset of autistic children exhibit higher than average levels of androgens. Spironolactone is an aldosterone antagonist and potassium-sparing diuretic with a desirable safety profile. It possesses potent anti-inflammatory and immune modifying properties that might make it an excellent medical intervention for autism spectrum disorders. Furthermore, spironolactone demonstrates substantial anti-androgen properties that might further enhance its appeal in autism, particularly in a definable subset of hyperandrogenic autistic children. One case report is briefly reviewed demonstrating objective clinical improvements in an autistic child after spironolactone administration. Additional research in controlled trials is now needed to further define the risks and benefits of spironolactone use in children with autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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