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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

Joseph Biederman, MD

Published: September 1, 2003

Article Abstract

Findings from a previously published longitudinal follow-up of adolescents with and withoutattention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were reanalyzed to determine the extent to whichpharmacotherapy 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 topreviously accumulated data to determine whether exposure to stimulant therapy had increased ratesof substance use disorder among ADHD patients. Findings included confirmation that, in fact, stimulanttherapy protected medicated ADHD patients against substance use disorder, which occurred atrates that were 3 to 4 times greater among people with untreated ADHD.

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