FDA Cracks Down on Autism 'treatment'

CHICAGO, Oct. 15 (UPI) — A type of over-the-counter product sold as a treatment for autism, heart disease and other conditions is dangerous and illegal, health officials say.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the warning Thursday as part of an announced crackdown on products called chelators, the Chicago Tribune reported,

Serious risks including kidney damage, dehydration and even death have been linked to the potent drugs that help remove metals from the body, FDA Medical Officer Dr. Charles Lee said.

Eight companies have been sent letters from the FDA warning they are violating federal law by selling the products.

The FDA is also cautioning people who might be thinking of using the chelators, promoted on the Internet as therapies for a large number of chronic medical conditions.

Chelation treatment is popular among parents trying alternative therapies for their children with autism based on an unproven theory that children with autism have heavy metal poisoning, the Tribune said.

“These products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options,” said Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA must take a firm stand against companies who prey on the vulnerability of patients seeking hope and relief.”

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