In August 2014, under pressure from the US Food & Drug Administration, the company behind this anti-inflammatory voluntarily suspended sales of the product in the US.

For Rosie this IS a crisis.

Prior to ~ 20 months of age, Rosie was a happy, easily engaged child with emerging language and age-appropriate social skills. Then she gradually drifted away from us. On August 16, 2001, she was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She continued to regress until about age 4 when she reached a plateau.

From that point on, Rosie was always high maintenance, but manageable — until estrogen hit her system at the onset of puberty. In 2011, we moved from New York City to Northern New Jersey, and things took a turn for the worse. Her behavioral problems escalated tremendously. If I wanted to keep her in school, she had to be put on atypical anti-psychotics.

This category of prescription drugs has serious side-effects. Their impact on human metabolism is especially troubling. People using them often develop Type II diabetes. In a search for “long-term” studies on the impact of these medications, the longest I could find was one year. And that “One Year” study was paid for by the pharmaceutical company pushing them. (Yes – “pushing”! You see how they’re advertised to medical practitioners and even the public, and you’ll agree with this word choice.) They can easily can leave a person feeling “doped-up.” When Rosie was little, my fellow “Autie Parents” would refer to them as “zombie drugs” – something we truly dreaded. Sadly, in the fall of 2011, there was no choice for my Rosie.

0905001637 copyThe atypical anti-psychotic Abilify DID in fact greatly reduce the physical aggression. But it left her “overly-restless,” (a common side-effect) and did little to alleviate her intense anxiety. It also made her absolutely manic about food. She went from 100 lbs to 170 in one year. Neither of us was very happy with the results of Abilify.

Over the years since Rosie’s diagnosis, I’ve become a “PubMed junkie” for biomedical research on autism. Diving deep into this completely foreign terrain is a coping mechanism for me. My time is often spent looking up what words mean or seeking out clearer descriptions of the processes discussed in the research.

This allowed me to steer clear of all the junk medicine offered to us desperate parents in the name of “alternative medicine.” Don’t get me wrong, there are some well-intentioned practitioners out there – but there are also a lot of very expensive treatments with no discernable benefits also being peddled to us all too vulnerable parents. When it’s your child – you’ll consider anything.

For a number of years I had been aware that the presence of neuro-inflammation in the brain of individuals with severe autism had been established as fact. (Thank-you Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D) However, inflammation can be a healthy response for the human body. It wasn’t until 2011 that scientists determined that anti-inflammatories might help people with autism.

My unease with Rosie’s continued consumption of Abilify forced me to slowly reduce her dosage. Sadly, with each small reduction, there came an increase in her irritability and aggression. It wasn’t pretty.

One morning, after a particularly brutal transition from our home into her morning school transport car – I decided it was time to try an anti-inflammatory. Anatabloc came on my radar from the website Joe Canon does an excellent job of providing objective, well researched reviews of nutritional supplements.

From there I did my own homework on the key ingredient in Anatabloc, anatabine. (see Learn More) Convinced of its safety, if not its efficacy, I decided to have Rosie try it.

After determining the safety of a supplement, and tasting it to decide if I can get it in her or not (Rosie does not swallow any medication, so taste is critical), I’ll give it a try to see if it produces any discernible, positive affect on her. There was no way to predict what an anti-inflammatory would do for her.

What I noticed initially was that Rosie got “nicer.” I struggled to articulate what the difference was. I started her on only 2mg, so the effect was subtle. After a week or two, the Anatabloc was stopped – solely because it was too hard for me to grind the tablets down more than once or twice a day. Those tablets are hard!

2014Rosieballet_editBut then sleep-away camp (Camp Ramapo we love you!) for special-needs children came onto our horizon. They had a whole “Medical Staff” dedicated to seeing their very special campers received their respective meds – on time. Rosie’s treating psychopharmacologist, Dr. Charles Cartwright, of Montclair, NJ, a specialist in autism, signed-off on asking the camp to give Rosie 2mg of Anatabloc three times a day. After her month-long stay, the camp reported she had done much better than the year before, notably in the area of decreased physical aggression.

I immediately bought an electric pill grinder.

That same year I’d created charts to carefully track almost every aspect of Rosie’s behavior, biological processes, and external events that could have an impact on her day-to-day functioning.  The charts made it easy to see the stunning effect the Anatabloc had on Rosie.  By November of 2013 it was possible to completely take her off the atypical antipsychotics.   Dr. Cartwright himself was amazed.

There was no mistaking it – the Anatabloc stopped Rosie’s violent “rages.”

It was by no means a cure – but no one can OVER-state the benefit of dramatically reducing her bouts of physical aggression during her those frightening moments of rage. And Rosie herself was greatly relieved. Despite her tremendous difficulties in communicating, she made it clear she was very sad by saying after these bouts: “Sorry Mom.”

On top of all of this was the financial benefit. Rosie’s prescription medication cost over $800 a month. With Anatabloc I spent $90 a month.

Rosie still has great challenges, most notably with obsessive-compulsive-disorder, attention deficit, and verbal language skills. But Anatabloc allows Rosie to enjoy the people in her life. It allows her to get out in the community. These are invaluable benefits.

Today Rosie is able to attend ballet and swim lessons. Her passion is ballet and you can see the joy in her eyes when she’s dancing. This would never be possible if she were still taking prescription a-typical antipsychotics. At the school she attends for children with autism, she is loved by the staff and volunteers. Anatabloc made this possible.