In ADHD Anxiety, Rx Not Likely the Culprit

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder anxiety risk reduced, not increased, by stimulants

(RxWiki News) Despite past reports that ADHD medication could lead to anxiety in kids, new evidence suggests that stimulant medications may actually help with this issue.

That's the finding of a new study that looked at nearly 3,000 kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to this study, kids who took stimulants for ADHD were less likely to have anxiety than kids taking a placebo (fake pill).

"This new information on psychostimulants has the potential to change the way we treat kids with ADHD and improve the quality of their lives," said Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, which published this study Oct. 6, in a press release. Dr. Koplewicz was not involved with this research.

The authors of this study, led by Michael H. Bloch, MD, of the Yale Child Study Center and Department of Psychiatry in New Haven, CT, found that higher doses of stimulants reduced anxiety even further in kids with ADHD.

ADHD is a chronic condition most often found in kids that results in trouble paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Common stimulants used to treat ADHD include dextroamphetamine (brand names Dexedrine, Dextrostat and ProCentra) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta and Daytrana).

Anxiety that begins after children start taking ADHD drugs is not likely due to the drugs, Dr. Bloch and colleagues said. To reach this conclusion, Dr. Bloch and team looked at 23 past studies of 2,959 children with ADHD.

The National Institutes of Health, Tourette Association of America, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and Rembrandt Foundation funded this research. Dr. Bloch and team disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
October 7, 2015