The use of antidepressants to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults

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There is increasing evidence that children continue to experience attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms into adult life. The two main treatments for ADHD are antidepressants and stimulants. Here, the effectiveness data relating to the use of antidepressants in adults with ADHD are reviewed. Four controlled and six open studies were identified. Although, there is only limited data currently available, antidepressants may offer an effective therapy for adult ADHD. Controlled trials have studied desipramine, atomoxetine and bupropion, with most evidence supporting the efficacy of desipramine. The initial data indicate that atomoxetine is less effective than desipramine. The efficacy of bupropion is unclear. Initial published open data suggest a response rate of 50-78% with venlafaxine. Controlled studies are required to confirm this efficacy. Most of the present data are short-term, therefore long-term effectiveness data are required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-336
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • venlafaxine
  • antidepressive agents
  • attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • bupropion
  • clinical trials as topic
  • cyclohexanols
  • tricyclics
  • propylamines
  • adult ADHD
  • antidepressants


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