Diuretic Looks Promising for Autism

October 27, 2017 · Posted in Potential Treatments 

bumetanidePhase 2 clinical trials showed that the diuretic bumetanide can reduce the severity of autism spectrum disorders in children aged 3 to 11. A 2017 phase 2B trial assessed side effects and determined the dosage that maximizes benefits and minimizes side effects. Bumetanide will now move on to year-long phase 3 trials in five European countries and may be on the market by late 2021. Bumetanide is an unusually potent ‘loop diuretic’ (a diuretic that works at the loop of Henle in the kidney). In preliminary studies, it has also been used to prevent seizures in newborns.

The phase 2B study included 88 mostly male participants with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 2 and 18. The participants were randomly assigned to receive 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, or 2.0 mg twice daily of bumetanide or a placebo for three months.

Bumetanide improved core symptoms of autism such as social communication and restricted interest across all ages. Side effects were worse at higher doses, and included hypokalemia (low potassium), increased urine production, loss of appetite, dehydration, and weakness or lack of energy.

Researchers led by Eric Lemonnier determined that doses of 1.0 mg twice/day produces the most benefits while controlling side effects.


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