Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Placebo Study Indicates Lower Doses May Effectively Treat ADHD

Date:
May 6, 2003
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
A significant percentage of children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder did just as well when harmless placebos, pills without any specific effect, replaced some of their medications, a study led by two N.C researchers shows.

CHAPEL HILL -- A significant percentage of children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder did just as well when harmless placebos, pills without any specific effect, replaced some of their medications, a study led by two N.C researchers shows.

The findings raise the possibility that some children with these common problems may be effectively treated on lower doses of medication that are supplemented with a placebo. Further research is necessary, the researchers said, to determine the mechanism of the effect that placebos had in treating the disorder.

Dr. Adrian Sandler, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the Mission Children's Hospital in Asheville, and Dr. James W. Bodfish, a professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill department of psychiatry, presented their study findings today (May 3) at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Seattle.

Sandler and Bodfish have used the results of this initial study to obtain a grant $162,838 per year from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the use of placebos in treating attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. That two-year study, involving 150 children with ADHD, is examining the effectiveness of a conditioned placebo treatment, in which decreasing doses of stimulant medications are paired with distinctive placebos.

"This initial study examined the feasibility and potential effectiveness of using placebos along with unusually low doses of stimulant medications to treat children with ADHD. The results of this novel treatment approach were encouraging," said Sandler. "We are proceeding with further research to establish the clinical applications of placebos and to explore mechanisms."

In the study reported today, a group of 26 children ages 7 to 15 received the dose of a stimulant that had kept their ADHD symptoms stable and under good control. Then, the children were given half that dose, both with and without a placebo, in alternating weeks. The children's behavior was monitored with standardized ratings from parents, teachers and clinicians. Parents and the children themselves were all fully informed about the study, so the parents and children knew when they were taking a placebo. Teachers were unaware of the treatment order.

Forty percent of the children in the study responded well to the low dose plus placebo treatment, with equally good ADHD control and fewer side effects, compared with the full dose they had taken previously, based on parent and clinician ratings. Teachers saw little difference among the three conditions.

"Using placebos could have great importance in treating not only ADHD but many other disorders of the central nervous system," Sandler said. "Parents and clinicians alike are concerned about side effects of medications. Our hope is that this treatment approach would allow adequate management of symptoms on unusually low doses of medications. What is especially intriguing is that the placebo treatment was fully disclosed to parents and children. This opens the way to the ethical therapeutic use of placebo effects in order to enhance clinical care."

Many parents are concerned about placing their child on medication, Bodfish said. "Some choose not to treat their child due to concerns about side effects. Conditioning effects and placebo effects are well-established scientific facts. Our preliminary findings suggest that conditioned placebo treatment may allow some children to be effectively treated on lower doses of medication and experience fewer side effects. It's a wonderful example of using basic science to solve a clinical problem."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Placebo Study Indicates Lower Doses May Effectively Treat ADHD." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030506073637.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (2003, May 6). Placebo Study Indicates Lower Doses May Effectively Treat ADHD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030506073637.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Placebo Study Indicates Lower Doses May Effectively Treat ADHD." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030506073637.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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