The effectiveness and adverse effects of D‐cycloserine compared with placebo on social and communication skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder

This new review assessed the efficacy and adverse effects of D-cycloserine compared with placebo for social and communication skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

It includes one randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing 10 weeks (10 doses) of D-cycloserine (50 mg) plus social skills training with placebo plus social skills training in 67 children with ASD aged between 5 and 11 years old. The study, which was funded by the United States Department of Defense, was conducted at two sites. The following outcomes were assessed at one-week post-treatment: social communication and social interaction impairment; restricted, repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behaviour and interests; adverse effects; non-core symptoms of ASD; and tolerability of D-cycloserine. The study reported low-certainty evidence of little to no difference between the two groups for all outcomes measured.

The review authors concluded that they are uncertain if D-cycloserine is effective for children with ASD as only one study with methodological issues and imprecision was included. Additionally, they are uncertain of the long-term adverse effects of the drug due to the short duration of the study.

The evidence is current to November 2020. Read the full review here on the Cochrane Library.