Single Daily Dose of Adderall May Work as Well as Two Ritalin Doses for Children With ADHD
If further studies produce the same results as those published in a recent
issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry,Adderall may become the first-choice ADHD medication for
school-age children, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation ADHD Center
Researcher Michael J. Manos, PhD, director of the Cleveland center, and
colleagues arranged for the 84 children in the study to receive either Ritalin
or Adderall from their doctor, but neither the doctors nor the parents knew the
dosage the children were receiving. Half of the children received Ritalin, and
the other half received Adderall. The goal of the study was to compare the
"effectiveness of Adderall given once in the morning with that of MPH
[Ritalin] given in the morning and at noon...," write the researchers. Both
medications were found effective for treating children with ADHD, based on
teachers? and parents? ratings of the children?s behavior.
But some ADHD experts question the study?s conclusions. In an interview
seeking independent assessment of the study, Charles Cunningham, PhD, a
professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McMaster University
School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, tells WebMD that "you really can?t
draw any conclusions because this wasn't a randomized, controlled trial."
Cunningham acknowledges that if the study could be repeated using more
scientifically precise methods -- and if similar results were found -- it would
be good news for parents of adolescent children with ADHD who take Ritalin.
Usually, those children must take their second daily dose of medication during
school, which can make monitoring of treatment difficult.
Another objective researcher also questioned the study?s merits -- for other
reasons. Elisabeth Guthrie, MD, chief of the department of psychiatry at
Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y., tells WebMD she believes the
number of children in the study was too small to draw the conclusions reached
by the researchers, and that she is "suspicious regarding Adderall because
no drug on the market has had more PR than it has." Yet despite its
marketing, Guthrie says, "I do think that clinically, it may end up having
Both Manos and Guthrie hope to see further studies conducted in the use of
Adderall as a possible substitute for Ritalin. Guthrie says that more studies
are urgently needed "because the population taking [Adderall] has
ballooned, while the scientific study of it has not kept up."