Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders. We carried out this comparison of multiple treatments based on sufficient data in attempt to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ADHD medication for children and adolescents. PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Database were used to search for relevant articles.
Changes in the ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS) scores and the Conners' Parent Rating Scale-Revised (CPRS) scores were used as outcomes for efficacy. Withdrawals due to all-cause, adverse effects and lack of efficacy were defined as primary outcomes evaluating the safety of such medications. Both pair-wise and network meta-analyses were performed.
Efficacy and safety of atomoxetine (ATX), bupropion (BUP), clonidine hydrochloride (CLON), guanfacine extended release (GXR), lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX), and methylphenidate (MPH) were evaluated. LDX has the highest efficacy and a relatively lower rate of adverse effects compared to BUP, CLON and GXR. MPH has the lowest incidence rate of adverse effects and takes second place concerning ADHD-RS scores and third place concerning CPRS scores.
ATX has the lowest incidence rate of all-cause withdrawals. The efficacy of ATX seems, however, to be lower than CLON, GXR, LDX and MPH. Adversely, BUP has the highest incidence rate of withdrawals and the second highest probability of causing adverse effects as well as lack of efficacy; therefore it should not be recommended as a treatment for ADHD.
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