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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015 Jan;54(1):62-70.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.10.006. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

Treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and irritability: results from the multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD (MTA).

Author information

1
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK. Electronic address: lorena.fernandez_de_la_cruz@kcl.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK.
3
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
4
Queens College, City University of New York, New York City, USA.
5
Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Clinically impairing irritability affects 25% to 45% of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); yet, we know little about what interventions are effective in treating children with ADHD and co-occurring irritability. We used data from the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD (MTA) to address 3 aims: to establish whether irritability in children with ADHD can be distinguished from other symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD); to examine whether ADHD treatment is effective in treating irritability; and to examine how irritability influences ADHD treatment outcomes.

METHOD:

Secondary analyses of data from the MTA included multivariate analyses, and intent-to-treat random-effects regression models were used.

RESULTS:

Irritability was separable from other ODD symptoms. For treating irritability, systematic stimulant treatment was superior to behavioral management but not to routine community care; a combination of stimulants and behavioral treatment was superior to community care and to behavioral treatment alone, but not to medication alone. Irritability did not moderate the impact of treatment on parent- and teacher-reported ADHD symptoms in any of the 4 treatment groups.

CONCLUSION:

Treatments targeting ADHD symptoms are helpful for improving irritability in children with ADHD. Moreover, irritability does not appear to influence the response to treatment of ADHD.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION INFORMATION:

Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA); http://www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT00000388.

KEYWORDS:

attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; irritability; oppositional defiant disorder; treatment outcomes

PMID:
25524791
PMCID:
PMC4284308
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaac.2014.10.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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