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BMJ Group Medical Reference


This information is for people who have a child with autism. It tells you about immunoglobulin, a treatment used for autism. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We don't know. There hasn't been enough research to say whether this treatment can be helpful.

What is it?

Immunoglobulin is a protein made by your body. It's used by your immune system to recognise germs such as bacteria.

How can it help?

There hasn't enough research on how taking immunoglobulin might help children with autism.

How does it work?

Some people think that taking tablets of immunoglobulin can help boost the immune system in children with autism. This may help improve the symptoms. But there isn't any evidence to show that this happens.

Can it be harmful?

We don't know. There hasn't been any research about this.

How good is the research on immunoglobulin?

We didn't find any good-quality studies ( randomised controlled trials) that looked at whether immunoglobulin can help children with autism.



Bacteria are tiny organisms. There are lots of different types. Some are harmful and can cause disease. But some bacteria live in your body without causing any harm.

immune system

Your immune system is made up of the parts of your body that fight infection. When bacteria or viruses get into your body, it's your immune system that kills them. Antibodies and white blood cells are part of your immune system. They travel in your blood and attack bacteria, viruses and other things that could damage your body.


A lot of your body's tissues are made out of proteins. Proteins can be made in your cells. Proteins are also part of the food you eat, particularly meat and dairy products. Your body breaks down the protein you eat into amino acids. Your cells then use these amino acids to build new proteins, which make up muscles, joints, hair and other parts of your body.

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Autism


For references related to Autism click here.
Last Updated: August 29, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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