Autism Biomedical Information Network

Controlled trial of secretin, Dunn-Geier et al

To date, the recent study of Dunn-Geier et al (see abstract) has the largest number of patients entered into a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of secretin. The mean age of 95 children with autism was 5.1 years. After random allocation, 47 received secretin and 48 received saline intravenously. Baseline and post-treatment assessments were done of receptive and expressive language (Preschool Language Scale-3) and behavior (Childhood Autism Rating Scales and Autism Behavior Checklist) by parents and clinicians. Parents also completed a questionnaire about gastrointestinal symptoms. The data did not demonstrate "the efficacy of a single dose of porcine secretin." Improvements observed in both the placebo and secretin groups were attributed to a "habituation effect" as the child and family became familiar with the clinic setting.


Dunn-Geier J, Ho HH, Auersperg E, Doyle D, Eaves L, Matsuba C, Orrbine E, Pham B, Whiting S.

Effect of secretin on children with autism: a randomized controlled trial.

Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2000;42:796-802

To determine the effect of intravenous porcine secretin on autistic behaviours in children aged 2 to 7 years, the effects of secretin on (1) performance on a standardized language measure, and (2) autistic behaviours, as rated by parents and child development professionals was examined. Employing a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, 95 participants were assigned to one of two groups and administered a single dose of either secretin or placebo. A follow-up assessment was conducted 3 weeks after the injection. No significant differences in language or autistic behaviour measures were observed at the 3-week follow-up between the groups. Also, there was no significant difference in the proportion of individuals who improved by = or > 6 points on the language measure at follow-up. This study showed no significant effects of secretin on children with autism. Our results are consistent with a systematic review of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of secretin in children with autism.

Secretin study by Chez et al

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This page last updated on 02/25/2001