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A randomized controlled trial of clonidine added to psychostimulant medication for hyperactive and aggressive children.

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University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.



To compare clonidine with placebo added to ongoing psychostimulant therapy for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with comorbid oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder.


Children 6 to 14 years of age recruited through 2000 to 2001 were randomized to receive clonidine syrup 0.10 to 0.20 mg/day (n = 38) or placebo (n = 29) for 6 weeks. Primary outcome measures were the Conduct and Hyperactive Index subscales of the parent-report Conners Behavior Checklist. Side effects were monitored using physiological measures and the Barkley Side Effect Rating Scale.


Evaluable patient analysis showed that significantly more clonidine-treated children than controls were responders on the Conduct scale (21 of 37 versus 6 of 29; chi2(1) = 8.75, p <.01) but not the Hyperactive Index (13 of 37 versus 5 of 29). Compared with placebo, clonidine was associated with a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure measured standing and with transient sedation and dizziness. Clonidine-treated individuals had a greater reduction in a number of unwanted effects associated with psychostimulant treatment compared with placebo.


The findings support the continued use of clonidine in combination with psychostimulant medication to reduce conduct symptoms associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Treatment is well tolerated and unwanted effects are transient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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