ADHD drug may help hyperactive teens

Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) respond well to treatment with Concerta, a once-daily extended-release form of the stimulant methylphenidate, researchers report.

“ADHD is an important disorder that affects approximately 6 percent of adolescents,” Dr. Timothy E. Wilens told Reuters Health. “Unfortunately, virtually nothing is known about its treatment in this age group.”

Wilens, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues studied the effects of Concerta in 220 adolescents with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD.

They successfully identified an effective dose of the drug in 177 subjects and these individuals were randomly assigned to 2 weeks of treatment with their individualized dose or inactive placebo.

Compared to placebo, those given the active treatment showed a significant reduction in investigator-rated ADHD at 2 weeks. The investigators rated 52 percent of the methylphenidate patients as being “much” or “very much” improved, compared to 31 percent of placebo patients.

Parents and patients gave similar reports, and the medication was well tolerated, the team notes in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

“This study,” said Wilens, “highlights that ADHD exists in adolescents, and that stimulant treatment is highly effective in this age group.”

“Not surprisingly,” he noted, “adolescents with ADHD require higher doses of medication - for example, Concerta - for control of their ADHD compared to younger children.”

SOURCE: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine January 2006.

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Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.