Vol. 4, No. 4, 1998 Page 7

New ADHD Treatment

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a strong risk factor for adult sociopathy (see related article, Crime Times, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 3, Page 1). While methylphenidate (Ritalin) alleviates symptoms of hyperactivity in many children and adults, the drug is potentially addictive and is ineffective in approximately 30 percent of cases.

Thomas Spencer and colleagues report that tomoxetine, a drug that alters the brain's use of the neurohormone norepinephrine, appears to be an effective and well-tolerated alternative to Ritalin. The researchers tested the drug on 22 adults with ADHD, and say that 11 of the subjects showed improvement compared to only two in a control group. One patient discontinued the drug due to anxiety, and several others developed anxiety and/or insomnia.

Spencer and colleagues say that tomoxetine's effects appear to be specific to ADHD, and that no improvement was seen in subjects' other psychiatric symptoms.


"Effectiveness and tolerability of tomoxetine in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder," Thomas Spencer et al., American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 155, No. 5, May 1998, pp. 693-695. Address: Thomas Spencer, Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 15 Parkman St., WACC 725, Boston, MA 02114.

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