The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    First report: St. John’s Wort for autism

    It’s just a report on 3 patients, but it’s important because some people with autism are already taking St. John’s wort.

    First, the details.

    • 3 male patients with autistic disorder participated.
    • In each patient, their eye contact and expressive language were inadequate for their developmental level.
    • None of these patients tolerated or responded to other psychopharmacologic treatments (methylphenidate [Ritalin], clonidine [Catapres], or desipramine [Norpramin, Pertofrane]).

    And, the results.

    • There was slight improvement with St John’s Wort in parent and mentor ratings based on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), irritability, stereotypy, and inappropriate speech.
      • ABC is a 58-item rating scale that measures the effects of drug treatment in individuals in residential facilities.
    • There was no improvement in healthcare professionals’ ratings (Psychiatric Rating Scale Autism, Anger and Speech Deviance factors; Global Assessment Scale; Clinical Global Impressions efficacy).

    The bottom line?
    A survey of 417 families in the Autism Society of Ohio in 2003 revealed that 46% were using some form of psychotropic agent (including St. John’s wort and melatonin), whereas 12% were using an anti-epilepsy drug, and 10% took an OTC autism preparation.

    So, the findings in these 3 patients should be of interest (but probably not encouraging) to these families and healthcare professionals who care for patients with autism.

    4/2/09 20:26 JR

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