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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1996 Nov;35(11):1485-90.

A naturalistic assessment of protriptyline for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



To evaluate the potential benefit of the tricyclic antidepressant, protriptyline, in the treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


All clinic patients in an outpatient pediatric psychopharmacology unit treated with protriptyline for ADHD were monitored for response to treatment. Thirteen subjects (11 male, 2 female) were treated naturalistically with protriptyline for ADHD and were administered the ADHD Symptom Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impression of Severity (CGI-S) and improvement (CGI-I) at baseline and while taking medication. All patients had failed to respond to at least one previous medication trial, and 46% had psychiatric comorbidity.


Patients received an average protriptyline dose of 17 mg (range 5 to 30 mg) for 11.5 +/- 6.8 weeks. Of the 11 patients who continued to take protriptyline for at least 4 weeks, there was a modest reduction in the ADHD symptom checklist (p < .004) and the CGI-S (p = .032). However, using a predefined criteria of response, only 45% of patients were considered positive responders. Adverse effects were prominent, with 46% of patients reporting clinically significant problems and 38% of patients discontinuing treatment because of intolerable side effects.


These findings do not support the clinical utility of protriptyline in the routine management of complex cases of ADHD in children and adolescents. However, the usefulness in noncomorbid, medication-naive ADHD individuals remains unclear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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