AutismFake and harmful autism 'treatments'

Important

This is not a list of every fake autism treatment.

Always speak to a GP for advice if there's something you're not sure about. Some fake treatments can be very dangerous.

Fake treatments that do not work

Sometimes a doctor may suggest medicines or special diets for other conditions that affect autistic people.

But there are no "treatments" or "cures" for autism itself.

These things do not work and some can be harmful:

  • special diets – such as gluten-free, casein-free or ketogenic diets
  • vitamins, minerals and diet supplements
  • bleaching – also called chlorine dioxide (CD) or Mineral Miracle Solution (MMS)
  • GcMAF – an injection made from blood cells
  • medicines – including medicines to help with memory, change hormone levels or remove metal from the body (chelation)
  • neurofeedback – where brain activity is checked (usually by placing sticky pads on your head) and you're taught how to change it
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy – treatment with oxygen in a pressurised chamber

How to spot fake treatments

There are some warning signs that may suggest a treatment is fake:

  • it claims to "cure" or help people "recover from" autism
  • it claims to work in most people and have quick results
  • personal "stories" are used to claim it works, rather than medical evidence
  • words like "miracle", "faith" and "trust" are used
  • it can be done by anyone without any training or qualifications
  • it costs a lot of money

How to report fake treatments

You can help stop people selling dangerous treatments by reporting anything you think might be fake.

For a product bought in England, Scotland or Wales, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

For a medicine you think might be fake, visit www.fakemeds.campaign.gov.uk.

For an advert for a fake treatment in the media, on a website or on social media, contact the Advertising Standards Authority.

Page last reviewed: 18/04/2019
Next review due: 18/04/2022