Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stimulant Treatment May Decrease Smoking Risk in Youth With ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a well-known risk factor for cigarette smoking, but can treatment of ADHD in adolescents decrease smoking risk? Yes, say researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the online August 7 Journal of Pediatrics. They conducted a two-year, prospective clinical trial of extended-release methylphenidate for smoking prevention in adolescents, comparing 102 adolescent ADHD subjects—about half of whom received the treatment—with 188 adolescents who did not have ADHD. The smoking rate at the end of the study was significantly lower in ADHD subjects who were receiving stimulant treatment than it was in ADHD subjects who were not, and there was no significant different between ADHD subjects receiving stimulant treatment and non-ADHD subjects.

“Although considered preliminary until replicated in future randomized clinical trials, the findings from this single-site, open-label study suggest that stimulant treatment may contribute to a decreased risk for smoking in adolescents with ADHD,” wrote the researchers. “If confirmed, this finding would have significant clinical and public health impacts.”

To read about a recent study that found ADHD to be a significant predictor of the development of substance use disorders in children and adolescents, see the "Journal Digest" column in Psychiatric News, here.

 (Image: Dani Vincek/


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