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BMJ Clin Evid. 2008 Apr 28;2008. pii: 0322.


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Departments of Paediatrics and Child Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.



Evidence for the efficacy of treatments for autism has improved in recent years. In this systematic review article the evidence for both drug and non-drug treatments is appraised and clinical guidance is provided for their use.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects in children with autism of: early intensive multidisciplinary intervention programmes; dietary interventions; drug treatments; and non-drug treatments? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to May 2006 (BMJ Clinical evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found 19 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: applied behavioural analysis, Autism Pre-school Programme, Child's Talk, More than words, Picture Exchange Communication System, TEACCH, Early Bird Programme, Floor time, Portage scheme, relationship development interventions, social skills training, social stories, Son-Rise, digestive enzymes, gluten free diet, casein free diet, omega-3 fish oil, probiotics, vitamin A, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) plus magnesium, vitamin C, methylphenidate, risperidone, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, immunoglobulins, memantine, secretin, auditory integration training, chelation, and sensory integration training.

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