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Pharmacotherapy of Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Reduces Risk for Substance Use Disorder

An interesting study by Joseph Biederman, MD, Timothy Wilens, MD, Eric Mick, ScDv, Thomas Spencer, MD, and Stephen V. Faraone, PhD from the Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

"Consistent with findings in untreated ADHD in adults, untreated ADHD was a significant risk factor for SUD in adolescence. In contrast, pharmacotherapy was associated with an 85% reduction in risk for SUD in ADHD youth."

Biederman et al concluded: "We examined three competing hypotheses. The first is the null hypothesis that psychotropics would have no effect on the development of SUD in children with ADHD. The alternative hypothesis is that exposure to pharmacotherapy will be associated with higher risk for SUD in general and stimulant abuse in particular. Because SUD in children and adolescents with ADHD may arise from an attempt at self-medication, the third competing hypothesis posited that pharmacologic management would diminish the risk for SUD by controlling the core features of ADHD and promoting adaptive behavior and academic success. "

For full details of the research please visit PEDIATRICS Vol. 104 No. 2 August 1999, p. e20

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