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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1978 Jan;17(1):85-92.

Do stimulant drugs improve the academic performance of hyperkinetic children? A review of outcome studies.


Stimulant drug studies based primarily on measures of teacher opinion have frequently concluded that these drugs improve the achievement of hyperkinetic children. However, a review of those studies using more objective measures of academic performance revealed few positive short-term or long-term drug effects on these measures. What few improvements have been noted can be readily attributed to better attention during testing. The major effect of the stimulants appears to be an improvement in classroom manageability rather than academic performance. It would seem that the stimulants are not able to influence those etiologic factors, other than overactivity and inattentiveness, which predispose hyperkinetic children toward school difficulties. Hence, since the goal of pediatric intervention with these children should be to enhance school performance as well as reducing hyperactive behavior, the two should be independently and objectively monitored. Since stimulant medications fail to improve the academic performance of most of these children, additional educational assistance must be provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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