Amphetamines for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a childhood onset psychiatric disorder that can persist into adulthood in up to 50% of patients. From a clinical point of view, ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, mood instability, irritability, difficulties in maintaining attention, lack of organization and impulsive behaviours. The presence of other disorders occurring at the the same time is also common, especially mood disorders and substance abuse. It seems that amphetamines could reverse the underlying neurological problems that feature in ADHD, and so improve ADHD symptoms. We found seven studies, which enrolled 1091 patients. These studies compared amphetamines to placebo and three of them also compared amphetamines with other drugs: guanfacine, modafinil and paroxetine. Three amphetamine derivatives were investigated: dexamphetamine, lisdexamphetamine and mixed amphetamine salts (MAS). Treatment length ranged from two to 20 weeks. All amphetamines improved ADHD symptoms but overall they did not make people more likely to stay in treatment and were associated with a higher risk of treatment ending early due to adverse events. One type of amphetamine, mixed amphetamine salts, did, however, increase retention in treatment. We found no evidence that higher doses worked better than lower ones. We did not find any difference in effectiveness between immediate-release and sustained-release formulations. Therefore, it appears that short-term treatment with amphetamines reduces ADHD symptoms, but studies assessing the effects of amphetamines for longer periods of time are needed.
This resource was contributed by The National Documentation Centre on Drug Use.