ADHD drugs no affect on substance abuse

March 4, 2008 at 4:01 PM
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BOSTON, March 4 (UPI) -- A U.S. study finds stimulant drugs used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has no effect on future substance abuse risk.

The study, published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Psychiatry, assessed more than 100 young men 10 years after they had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Lead author Dr. Joseph Biederman, director of Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD at Massachusetts General Hospital, earlier studies examining whether stimulant treatment could increase substance abuse risk have had conflicting results.

In the study, involving 112 people ages 16 to 27, 73 percent had been treated with stimulants at some time and 22 percent were currently receiving stimulant treatment.

Study participants were interviewed to assess of psychiatric disorders and additional questions about their use of alcohol, tobacco products and a wide variety of psychoactive drugs.

Study results showed no relationship between whether a participant ever received stimulant treatment and the risk of future tobacco use or alcohol or other substance abuse.

"Because stimulants are controlled drugs, there has been a concern that using them to treat children would promote future drug-seeking behavior," Biederman said in a statement.

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