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Large ADHD drug study released

Wednesday August 8th, 2018

An expert analysis, published today, sets out the optimum medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for different age groups.

The findings support methylphenidate for children and adolescents, and amphetamines for adults. However the long-term effects of these drugs needs greater clarity, the researchers say.

The researchers say that ADHD medication guidelines are inconsistent.

They examined the literature on 133 good-quality trials of the most popularly-prescribed medications, looking at efficacy and tolerability over a year.

At about 12 weeks, all the drugs were more effective for symptoms in children and adolescents when rated by clinicians, however on teachers' ratings, only methylphenidate and modafinil were better than placebo.

For adults, all of the drugs except modafinil were better than placebo.

Amphetamines were less well tolerated than placebo in both children and adults. Guanfacine was less well tolerated than placebo in children and adolescents only. Atomoxetine, methylphenidate, and modafinil were less well tolerated than placebo in adults only.

Insufficient information was found for the 26-week and 52-week timepoints.

In The Lancet Psychiatry today (8 August), the researchers write: "Our findings represent the most comprehensive available evidence base on the choice of ADHD medications across age groups."

They add: "New research should be funded urgently to assess long-term effects of these drugs."

Researcher Dr Andrea Cipriani of the University of Oxford, UK, said: "Medication can be an important tool for people with ADHD. With an increasing number of people being diagnosed with ADHD and given a drug prescription, our study provides a starting point for medication, and hopefully helps patients more quickly find a drug that works for them."

Cortese, S. et al. Comparative efficacy and tolerability of medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, adolescents, and adults: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry 8 August 2018 doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30269-4

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Child Health | North America | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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