The Food and Drug Administration is warning against using a controversial dietary supplement for the treatment of autism.

In a letter to the makers of a drug known as OSR#1, federal officials say the product is toxic and is not labeled to inform users of possible side effects like problems with the pancreas and hair loss.

OSR#1 originated as an industrial compound to treat wastewater in mines, but it is currently sold in pill form and some parents believe it helps mitigate symptoms of autism.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Because OSR#1 is marketed as a dietary supplement it has not been required to undergo the intense scientific scrutiny that’s required of traditional drugs. However, the FDA is taking notice, saying in their letter that OSR#1 does not qualify as a dietary supplement and must be reviewed like any other new drug.

The company selling OSR#1 has 15 days to respond to the FDA letter, reports The Chicago Tribune. To read more click here.

Read more stories like this one. Sign up for Disability Scoop's free email newsletter to get the latest developmental disability news sent straight to your inbox.