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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;11(5):684-98. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2010.483249.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults.

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  • 1Neurozentrum, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg/Saar, Germany.



To examine available literature regarding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.


An electronic literature search of peer-reviewed English language articles using MEDLINE (without time limits) was undertaken.


Symptoms of ADHD in adults exert a substantial negative impact on daily life, including work, social life and relationships. Co-morbidities are common, further impairing quality of life. Diagnosis of adult ADHD can be difficult, as current criteria require evidence of symptom onset before the age of 7 years and impact on activities typically undertaken by children. Drug therapy is the first-line treatment for adult ADHD, particularly stimulant medication. However, methylphenidate (MPH) immediate-release tablets require three or more times daily dosing, which can impact on compliance, while demonstrating a loss of symptomatic benefit later in the day. Extended-release preparations of MPH, mixed amphetamine salts and dexamphetamine can provide symptom control for 6-12 h and the non-stimulant atomoxetine has demonstrated benefit in reducing ADHD symptoms. These therapies are generally well tolerated, but may be associated with adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, which need to be further assessed in controlled clinical trials. Psychological therapy may be beneficial in adults who continue to experience clinically significant symptoms while receiving pharmacotherapy.


Further research in all areas of adult ADHD is urgently needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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