What is secretin therapy?
Secretin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the intestine. It’s important for a healthy gut and digestion.
This therapy involves giving secretin to autistic people.
Who is secretin therapy for?
Supporters of this therapy say it can be used for any autistic person, although studies have focused on autistic children and teenagers.
What is secretin therapy used for?
Supporters of this therapy claim that secretin therapy can reduce the behaviour characteristics of autism. Secretin therapy might also be used to work out how well someone’s pancreas is functioning or to pick up problems in their digestive system.
Where does secretin therapy come from?
This therapy comes from observations of three autistic children. These three children were given secretin when they were having endoscopies. It was claimed that the dose of secretin led to improvements in their behaviour. As a result, secretin gained popularity as a potential autism therapy.
What is the idea behind secretin therapy?
This therapy is based on the idea that problems with the stomach and digestion in autistic children can interfere with their ability to focus on and develop skills like communicating with others.
It’s claimed that when these digestion problems are managed, autistic children are ‘freed up’ to focus on developing skills.
What does secretin therapy involve?
This therapy involves giving the person an injection of either natural or synthetic secretin.
There are no standard therapeutic guidelines about the use of secretin as an autism therapy. Most studies have given people a single dose. Others have given more than one dose (usually 4-6 weeks apart).
The cost of secretin therapy varies depending on whether trained therapists are involved in administering the therapy.
Does secretin therapy work?
High-quality research has shown that this therapy is ineffective or might be harmful.
Australian and international guidelines say that secretin therapy should not be used as an autism therapy.
Who practises this method?
Secretin is not approved for use in Australia. If it is used, a doctor must supervise its use and administration (this is the case for any medicine).
Parent education, training, support and involvement
There are no support or training services available for this therapy.
Where can you find a practitioner?
Secretin is not approved for use in Australia, so no information is available on who might provide the therapy in this country.
There are many therapies for autism. They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for autistic children takes you through the main therapies, so you can better understand your child’s options.