Efficacy of stimulants in adult ADHD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To review the literature regarding the efficacy of stimulants to treat attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.
DATA SOURCES: The relevant pharmaceutical manufacturers were contacted, and searches of MEDLINE (1966–December 2002) and the reference sections of each article obtained were performed using the key search terms: adult ADHD, stimulants, methylphenidate, amphetamines, and pemoline.
STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: All English-language original studies identified from the data sources were evaluated and all information deemed relevant was included in the review.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Studies involving methylphenidate, amphetamines, and pemoline were identified. There was evidence for the efficacy of amphetamines from 5 studies (4 controlled, 1 open). Methylphenidate data from 6 controlled trials were conflicting. Three studies indicated efficacy; 2 studies failed to show efficacy, possibly due to methodologic reasons; and the results from 1 study were conflicting. The limited data from 1 controlled and 1 open study indicated that pemoline may be less effective than methylphenidate and amphetamines.
CONCLUSIONS: While the current limited data indicate that stimulants may be effective in adult ADHD, more data are required to confirm long-term efficacy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1890
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • stimulants
  • amphetamines
  • attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • central nervous system Stimulants
  • chi-square distribution
  • clinical trials as topic
  • humans
  • pemoline
  • adult ADHD


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