Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MGH Study Supports Protective Effect Of Stimulant Treatment For ADHD

Date:
January 6, 2003
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
An analysis of all available studies that examine the possible impact of stimulant treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on future substance abuse supports the safety of stimulant treatment. Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that medication treatment for children with ADHD resulted in an almost two-fold reduction in the risk of future substance abuse.

An analysis of all available studies that examine the possible impact of stimulant treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on future substance abuse supports the safety of stimulant treatment. Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that medication treatment for children with ADHD resulted in an almost two-fold reduction in the risk of future substance abuse. The report appears in the January 2003 issue of Pediatrics.

Related Articles


"We know that untreated individuals with ADHD are at a significantly increased risk for substance abuse. And we understand why parents often ask whether stimulant medications might lead to future substance abuse among their children," says Timothy Wilens, MD, MGH director of Substance Abuse Services in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, the paper?s lead author. "Now we can reassure parents and other practitioners that treating ADHD actually protects children against alcohol and drug abuse as well as other future problems."

Wilens and his MGH colleagues have conducted previous studies that found a protective effect in stimulant treatment. However, at least one report from another research center asserted that stimulant treatment increased the risk of later substance abuse. In order to resolve the question, Wilens' group searched the medical literature for studies of children, adolescents and adults with ADHD that included followup information on later substance abuse. They identified six such studies conducted in the U.S. and Germany, which provided information on more than a thousand participants with ADHD -- 674 who received stimulant treatment and 360 who were non-medicated -- followed for four years or more. These studies included both the previous MGH research and the study suggesting increased risk.

After application of standard meta-analysis techniques, the researchers found a significant overall reduction in the risk of subsequent substance abuse among those receiving stimulant treatment. They note that four of the six studies showed "striking protective effects of stimulant medications."

Of the other two studies, one did not find significant differences in substance abuse between the treated and untreated groups. Regarding the study that suggested an increased risk, the MGH researchers noted that participants who received stimulant treatment in that study had more problems before they began treatment, particularly a greater incidence of conduct disorder (juvenile delinquency). Since conduct disorder is a recognized and very strong risk factor for substance abuse, it is unclear whether the conduct disorder or the medication actually resulted in the increased substance abuse risk.

The MGH team also noted that the protective effect of stimulant treatment for ADHD in childhood was not as strong in young adults as it was in adolescents. While some of this could relate to the fact that adolescents are still subject to parental supervision, the researchers also suggest that past recommendations that stimulant treatment be discontinued in adolescence could cause the protective effect to disappear in subsequent years.

"From a public health level," Wilens says, "these results finding protection against later substance abuse -- which is one of the most malevolent problems facing adolescents and young adults -- are among the strongest in child psychiatry. Moreover, these findings add to the growing literature supporting the long-term safety of stimulants and other medications for treatment of ADHD."

Wilens and colleagues are continuing to study the biological and psychological mechanisms by which ADHD increases the risk for substance abuse in young people and why treatment decreases the ultimate risk.

###

Wilens' coauthors are Stephen Farone, PhD; Joseph Biederman, MD, and Samantha Gunawardene, all of the MGH Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit. The study was entirely supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of almost $300 million and major research centers in AIDS, the neurosciences, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, the MGH joined with Brigham and Women's Hospital to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups and nonacute and home health services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "MGH Study Supports Protective Effect Of Stimulant Treatment For ADHD." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030106082048.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2003, January 6). MGH Study Supports Protective Effect Of Stimulant Treatment For ADHD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030106082048.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "MGH Study Supports Protective Effect Of Stimulant Treatment For ADHD." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030106082048.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins