Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 3228–3232 | Cite as

Brief Report: Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comprehensive Survey of Randomized Controlled Trials

  • Samuel TromansEmail author
  • Clive Adams
Brief Report


We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to provide an overview of evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of therapeutic interventions for autism spectrum disorders. From the final survey (529 RCTs), the mean size was 49 participants (standard deviation 50, range 1–479, median 36, mode 40), with a sharp increase in the number of RCTs from 2008. The most frequently evaluated intervention was antipsychotic treatment (n = 44, 3006 participants). The journal with the most RCTs was the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (N = 104). Most trials were small in size, emphasising the need for research groups to collaborate to generate higher quality data with greater applicability to clinical practice.


Autism Autistic ASD Randomized Trials Survey 



The authors would like to thank the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group for the provision of data and library services.

Author Contributions

ST conceived of the study, participated in its design, led in its coordination and drafted the manuscript; CA conceived of the study, led in its design, participated in its coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Samuel Tromans and Clive Adams declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3569_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (130 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 129 KB)
10803_2018_3569_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (114 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 114 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability, Agnes UnitLeicestershire Partnership NHS TrustLeicesterUK
  2. 2.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  3. 3.Cochrane Schizophrenia Group, Institute of Mental HealthUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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