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Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016 Jan;118(1):23-31. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.12477. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

Long-Term Pharmacotherapy of Adults With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Literature Review and Clinical Study.

Author information

1
Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tonsberg, Norway.
2
University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Akershus University Hospital, Grorud Outpatient Clinic, Lorenskog, Norway.

Abstract

This MiniReview reports and discusses the main findings of the author's thesis including a literature study of long-term pharmacological treatment of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and a clinical study of 1-year medication. Electronic databases were systematically reviewed for original studies on pharmacotherapy of the defined duration, 24 weeks or more. Although few trials were found with limitations such as excluding comorbidities, treatment with stimulants and atomoxetine was reported tolerated and effective compared to non-treatment. The clinical study of the thesis was conducted on 250 medication-naïve patients with ADHD referred to a specialized outpatient clinic. Comorbid psychiatric disorders were diagnosed among 75% of the patients. About 56% had not completed secondary school, and 51% had been unable to work the preceding year. Persisting inattentive symptoms and comorbid mental disorders in adulthood were related to long-term work disability. In the prospective observational study of the thesis, patients were treated with methylphenidate as first-line drug and atomoxetine or dexamphetamine as second-line drugs, according to current treatment guidelines. At 12-month follow-up, 232 patients completed evaluation and 70% persisted on medication. About 80% of these used methylphenidate. Sustained improvement of symptoms and functioning was related to continued medication. Comorbid mental disorders and side effects were related to lower effectiveness and adherence, and 12% stopped medication due to side effects. Summing up the MiniReview, treatment with stimulants and atomoxetine of adults with ADHD has long-term beneficial effects and is tolerated but more longitudinal studies should be performed. With stated limitations, the findings of the thesis should contribute to a relevant guidance for clinical practice.

PMID:
26404187
DOI:
10.1111/bcpt.12477
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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