Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Stimulant treatment for ADHD has no effect on risk of future substance abuse

MGH study looks at young adults 10 years after diagnosis

A new study finds that the use of stimulant drugs to treat children with ADHD has no effect on their future risk of substance abuse. The report, which will appear in the American Journal of Psychiatry and has been issued online, assessed more than 100 young men 10 years after they had been diagnosed with ADHD and is the most methologically rigorous analysis of any potential relationship between stimulant treatment and drug abuse.

“Because stimulants are controlled drugs, there has been a concern that using them to treat children would promote future drug-seeking behavior,” says Joseph Biederman, MD, director of Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the study's lead author. “But our study found no evidence that prior treatment with stimulants was associated with either increased or decreased risk for subsequent drug or alcohol abuse.”

Earlier studies examining whether stimulant treatment could increase substance abuse risk have had conflicting results, but they had several limitations, the authors note. Some only looked at adolescents, although young adults are at the highest risk of substance abuse. Others did not control for conditions such as conduct disorder that are know to be associated with substance abuse or may have looked at the impact on use of only a particular substance. The current study, designed to address those shortcomings, analyzed patterns of substance use in a group of young men 10 years after their original diagnosis with ADHD.

Of the 112 study participants, who ranged in age from 16 to 27 at the time of their reassessment, 73 percent had been treated with stimulants at some time, and 22 percent were currently receiving stimulant treatment. Study participants were interviewed using standard tools for assessment of psychiatric disorders and additional questions about their use of alcohol, tobacco products and a wide variety of psychoactive drugs. Study results, controlled for the presence of conduct diagnosis in the original diagnosis, showed no relationship between whether a participant ever received stimulant treatment and the risk of future tobacco use or alcohol or other substance abuse. The age at which stimulant treatment began and how long it continued also had no effect on substance use.

Earlier studies from the MGH Psychopharmacology group had suggested that stimulant treatment might actually reduce the risk of substance abuse in ADHD patients, who are at elevated risk to begin with, but that result did not hold up in the current analysis, which included some of the same participants. The researchers note that those shorter-term studies only followed participants into adolescence and that treatment may delay rather than totally prevent future substance use, something that should be investigated in the future.

“Our current results, combined with other investigations, should help reduce the concerns that clinicians and parents may have about the use of stimulants to treat ADHD in children,” says Biederman, a professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The current study was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute for Drug Abuse. Co-authors of the article are Michael Monuteaux, ScD, Thomas Spencer, MD, Timothy Wilens, MD, Heather MacPherson and Stephen Faraone, PhD, of the Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD at MGH.

Sue McGreevey | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>