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Balovaptan May Become the First Drug to Treat Autism

Prescription Drug Trial

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the Breakthrough Therapy status for the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche's drug Balovaptan in January 2018.


One of the main concerns with Autism is the lack of social interaction and communication. Autistics often struggle with expressing wants and needs. It can often result in frustration, isolation and frequent meltdowns. If Balaptovan is used in addition to speech, occupational, and behavior therapies, it may make a significant difference in those areas.

"Balovaptan blocks a receptor in the brain for the hormone vasopressin, a cousin to oxytocin, which is thought to strengthen social bonds. Vasopressin also influences social bonding."

This promising drug, administered as a nasal spray, is in a clinical trial that includes 300 children and teens with High Functioning Autism. This research study is conducted at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York and had positive results in their preliminary trials. The previous trials were tested on 223 men on the Autism spectrum. The results of that testing showed the men had small but significant improvements in socialization and communication.

The side effects of the Balovaptan are not known yet.

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The Controversy

When a new drug comes out claiming to "treat" autism, autistics are often against it. They don't feel the need for treatment or potential "cures." Many autistics are proud of who they are and for a good reason. They have many gifts and talents because of their unique mind. They also feel that changing their autistic traits will go against their beliefs on neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is defined as the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population (used especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorders). This belief is an important factor to consider when bringing up this subject. We do want to respect our fellow Autists and their opinions.

Some of these "cure" claims, not backed by the FDA, can cause harm. Many of these false claims include using the bleach treatment MMS or Miracle Mineral Solution. This radical "treatment" has many severe side effects including death. Knowing that this type of treatment is available and administered to children is shocking. MMS should be avoided.

Personally, I would give my son a choice when it comes to treatments and prescriptions. They would have to be proven safe and effective of course. I am fortunate that he can make a choice. Low-functioning and non-verbal individuals with ASD may not be able to communicate their preferences. Parents are often desperate to relieve their child from aggression, irritability, and self-harm. It's a delicate issue.

Does Balaptovan sound promising to you?

To read more about Fraudulent Cures you can read Brooke Price's story, Fraudulent Cures: The MMS (bleach) Treatment for Autism