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All-Day Management for ADHD

Drug effective in providing full-day symptom control, study says

MONDAY, Aug. 5, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A time-release amphetamine stimulant taken in a single morning dose provides all-day symptom control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says a study in the August issue of Pediatrics journal.

The study looked at a long-acting form of the stimulant medication Adderall, which includes several amphetamine-based drugs.

The study included more than 500 children, ages 6-12, at 47 sites across the United States. All the children met standard diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

The children were randomly divided into four groups. For the first week they all received a placebo. In the second week, children in three of the four groups were given a 10 mg. daily dose of Adderall. The other group remained on the placebo.

In the third week, two of the three groups taking the drug were switched to a 20 mg. daily dosage. After another week, one of those groups started receiving a 30 mg. daily dosage of Adderall.

Based on parents' and teachers' evaluations, even the 10 mg. daily dosages of Adderall showed significant behavioral improvements during the day and into the evening, the study says.

Higher dosages showed even more improvement in the children's behavior. No major side effects were reported.

"Long-acting stimulants are very beneficial for children with ADHD, who otherwise have to go to the nurse's office during the school day to receive their medication. And timed-release dosage avoids having frequent peaks and valleys of medication levels, giving the patient a more stable therapeutic environment," says study lead author Dr. Joseph Biederman, director of pediatric psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Adderall is manufactured by Shire Pharmaceuticals, which contributed a grant to the four-week study.

More information

The Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder site has more information on ADHD.

Also, The National Institute of Mental Health provides a good overview.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Aug. 5, 2002
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