WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- Stimulants are better than non-stimulants or novel stimulants for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
That's the finding of a new study recently released at the 2006 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto.
Stephen Faraone and colleagues at SUNY Upstate Medical University conducted a meta-analysis of 29 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the effectiveness of ADHD medication in children who were treated during the last 25 years. The studies enrolled nearly 4,500 subjects.
The team found that stimulant medications -- such as mixed amphetamine salts and methylphenidates -- treated the symptoms of ADHD much more effectively than either non-stimulants or novel stimulants.
Fifteen medications were tested and 17 measures of ADHD symptoms were reviewed, including hyperactivity, inattentiveness, impulsiveness and oppositional behavior.
The non-stimulant/novel stimulant drugs involved were atomoxetine, bupropion, modafinil and desipramine.
The analysis used effect sizes, a standard statistical measure, to determine each drug's usefulness. Effect sizes are usually categorized as small (0.2), medium (0.5) and large (0.8).
After adjusting for the influence of individual study designs, the effect size was calculated based on total ADHD scores.
Long- and short-acting stimulant medications had the largest effect size (0.83 and 0.9, respectively), followed by non-stimulants/modafinil-based stimulants (E = 0.62).
Statistically significant differences in effect size occurred between non-stimulants/modafinil-based stimulants and both short-acting stimulants (p = 0.002) and long-acting stimulants (0.004).