The Chicago Tribune‘s Trine Tsouderos reports on the growing use of Lupron, a drug sometimes used to chemically castrate sex offenders, to treat autism in children. The practice’s proponents, a father and son duo with clinics across the country, call it a “miracle drug.” Mainstream scientists are not convinced. Tsouderos chronicles their ire:
Four of the world’s top pediatric endocrinologists told the Tribune that the Lupron protocol is baseless, supported only by junk science. More than two dozen prominent endocrinologists dismissed the treatment earlier this year in a paper published online by the journal Pediatrics.
The story includes warnings that the drug can “disrupt normal development, interfering with natural puberty and potentially putting children’s heart and bones at risk,” according to experts in childhood hormones. The treatment involves regular, painful shots.
Tsouderos pulls no punches — in the story the Lupron treatment is referred to as “junk medicine” that spreads “false hope” — and takes on several alternative treatments and theories surrounding autism, including links with mercury or vaccination. In addition to interviewing disapproving scientists, she also details the marketing practices of the doctors behind the Lupron treatment and questions their success stories.