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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;49(6):573-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.02.013.

Randomized, controlled trial of atomoxetine for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescents with substance use disorder.

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  • 1Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Behavioral Health Services, and the University of Colorado Denver, 80238, USA.



To evaluate the effect of atomoxetine hydrochloride versus placebo on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance use disorder (SUD) in adolescents receiving motivational interviewing/cognitive behavioral therapy (MI/CBT) for SUD.


This single-site, randomized, controlled trial was conducted between December 2005 and February 2008. Seventy adolescents (13 through 19 years of age) with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) (DSM-IV) ADHD, a DSM-IV ADHD checklist score greater than or equal to 22, and at least one nontobacco SUD were recruited from the community. All subjects received 12 weeks of atomoxetine hydrochloride + MI/CBT versus placebo + MI/CBT. The main outcome measure for ADHD was self-report DSM-IV ADHD checklist score. For SUD, the main outcome was self-report number of days used nontobacco substances in the past 28 days using the Timeline Followback interview.


Change in ADHD scores did not differ between atomoxetine + MI/CBT and placebo + MI/CBT (F4,191 = 1.23, p = .2975). Change in days used nonnicotine substances in the last 28 days did not differ between groups (F3,100 = 2.06, p = .1103).


There was no significant difference between the atomoxetine + MI/CBT and placebo + MI/CBT groups in ADHD or substance use change. The MI/CBT and/or a placebo effect may have contributed to a large treatment response in the placebo group. Clinical Trials Registry Information-A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Atomoxetine for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorder. URL: Unique identifier: NCT00399763.

2010 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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