Pill spilling out of bottle

Of the drugs available for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most effective and safe for short-term treatment is methylphenidate for children, and amphetamines for adults, according to the most comprehensive evidence yet from a network meta-analysis and systematic review comparing the effectiveness and safety of seven ADHD drugs against placebo, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The Institute of Mental Health’s Professor Chris Hollis was co-author on the study which included 133 double-blind randomised controlled trials with data from more than 14,000 children and adolescents and 10,000 adults.

The authors say that environment modifications and non-pharmacological interventions should be considered first, but drugs can play an important role in treating ADHD. The study provides information for clinicians on the relative effectiveness and safety of various ADHD drugs.

Read the full study report in The Lancet Psychiatry journal online.

Research support for the study was provided by MindTech, the BRC Mental Health and Technology Theme, and CANDAL.