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Evidence-based pharmacotherapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer, Timothy Wilens
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1461145703003973 77-97 First published online: 1 March 2004

Abstract

There is a substantial body of literature documenting the efficacy of multiple unrelated pharmacological agents in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) individuals throughout the life-cycle. The available literature indicates the important role of psychopharmacological agents in the reduction of the core symptoms of ADHD and associated impairments. The literature documents that stimulants not only improve abnormal behaviours of ADHD, but also improves self-esteem, cognition, and social and family function. However, response varied in different age groups and with certain comorbidities. In addition there is a large body of literature documenting the efficacy of atomoxetine which shows improvement in these same domains. More research is needed on alternative pharmacological treatments and to further evaluate established therapeutics beyond school-aged Caucasian boys. Further, more research is needed on the efficacy of treatment for comorbid ADHD, use of combined medications, and the combination of medication and psychosocial treatment.

Key words
  • Atomoxetine
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • pharmacotherapy
  • psychostimulants
  • tricyclic antidepressants