Pharmacotherapy for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Decreases the Risk for Substance Abuse: Findings From a Longitudinal Follow-Up of Youths With and Without ADHD

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Findings from a previously published longitudinal follow-up of adolescents with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were reanalyzed to determine the extent to which pharmacotherapy for ADHD is associated with substance use disorders, including abuse and dependence. Using naturalistic data from 140 people with ADHD and 120 controls, researchers returned to previously accumulated data to determine whether exposure to stimulant therapy had increased rates of substance use disorder among ADHD patients. Findings included confirmation that, in fact, stimulant therapy protected medicated ADHD patients against substance use disorder, which occurred at rates that were 3 to 4 times greater among people with untreated ADHD.

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(suppl 11):3-8