Clinician and patient resources now available on ADHD treatment options

Research Activities, September 2012, No. 385

New patient and clinician summaries evaluating the effectiveness of drug and behavioral treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are now available from the Effective Health Care Program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). ADHD is a disorder that affects about 5 percent of children worldwide. Among preschool children with disruptive behavior disorder (which includes ADHD), relatively strong evidence supports the effectiveness of several different types of parental behavior training. These low-risk treatments were found to provide benefits for at least 6 months, and up to 2 years.

Parents who attend more parental behavior training sessions see more improvement in their child's behavior. For children older than age 6, the report found low evidence that medications such as methylphenidate (sold under the trade name Ritalin®) and atomoxetine (sold as Strattera®) used to treat ADHD symptoms are generally safe and effective for improving behavior. For both preschoolers and children over the age of 6, long-term effectiveness and adverse effects are not well studied. The patient summary and clinician summary are accompanied by a continuing medical education/continuing education activity and faculty slide set to further assist clinicians, researchers, and other health professionals in decisionmaking.

This set of resources is based on the research review, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Effectiveness of Treatment in At-Risk Preschoolers; Long-Term Effectiveness in All Ages; and Variability in Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment. To access the summary and other materials that explore the effectiveness and risks of treatment options for various conditions, visit AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site at

Current as of September 2012
Internet Citation: Clinician and patient resources now available on ADHD treatment options: Research Activities, September 2012, No. 385. September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.