Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by several impairments in communications and social interactions, as well as restricted interests or stereotyped behaviors. Interventions applied for this disorder are based on multi-modal approaches, including pharmacotherapy. No definitive cure or medication has been introduced so far; therefore, researchers still investigate potential drugs for treating ASD. One of the new medications introduced for this purpose is bumetanide. The present article aimed to review the efficacy of this drug on the core symptoms of ASD and its potential side effects.
We searched all papers reported on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, efficacy, and adverse effects of bumetanide on animal models and humans with ASD. The papers were extracted from the main databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus.
The findings revealed that cortical neurons have high chloride ion (Cl−)i and excitatory actions of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the valproic acid animal model with ASD and mice with fragile X syndrome. Bumetanide, which has been introduced as a diuretic, is also a high-affinity-specific Na+-K+-Cl− cotransporter (NKCC1) antagonist that can reduce Cl− level. The results also indicate that bumetanide can attenuate behavioral features of autism in both animal and human models. Moreover, the studies showed that such medication could activate fusiform face area in individuals with ASD while viewing emotional faces. Also, recent findings suggest that a dose of 1 mg/d of this drug, taken twice daily, might be the best compromise between safety and efficacy.
Recent studies provided some evidence that bumetanide can be a novel pharmacological agent in treating core symptoms of ASD. Future studies are required to confirm the efficacy of this medication in individuals with ASD.