Effectiveness of N,N-dimethylglycine in autism and pervasive developmental disorder

J Child Neurol. 2001 Mar;16(3):169-73. doi: 10.1177/088307380101600303.


N,N-dimethylglycine, a dietary supplement, has been reported to be beneficial in children with autism and pervasive developmental disorder. We examined the effectiveness of dimethylglycine in children with autism and pervasive developmental disorder in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Thirty-seven children between 3 and 11 years of age with a diagnosis of autism and/or pervasive developmental disorder were gender and age matched and randomly assigned to receive either placebo or dimethylglycine for 4 weeks. All children were assessed before and after treatment on two behavioral measures, the Vineland Maladaptive Behavior Domain and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist. Standardized neurologic examinations before and after treatment on 33 children showed no change. An overall improvement on all behavioral measures was observed for both the placebo and the dimethylglycine groups. However, the improvement among the children who received dimethylglycine was not statistically different from the improvement observed among the children who received the placebo. The children who participated in this study were a heterogeneous group, and their apparent responses to the dimethylglycine varied. Some children appeared to respond positively to the dimethylglycine, and there was a smaller proportion of negative changes in the dimethylglycine group, but the quantitative changes in the dimethylglycine behavioral assessments were not significantly different from what was observed among children who received placebo.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / diagnosis
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / drug therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Personality Assessment
  • Sarcosine / adverse effects
  • Sarcosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sarcosine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • dimethylglycine
  • Sarcosine