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Review: extended stimulant medication is effective in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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QUESTION: In children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of ≥12 weeks duration effective?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, CINAHL, HealthSTAR, PsycINFO, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, the Cochrane Library, reference lists, and personal files.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating treatment for ≥12 weeks in children with ADHD were selected if they were full reports published in any language in peer reviewed journals.

Data extraction

2 reviewers independently extracted data on each of the treatment groups, tests used in each study, and outcomes (behaviour symptoms, academic performance, social behaviour, and internalising symptoms). Differences were resolved by consensus. The quality of study methods was assessed (minimum score 0, maximum score 5).

Main results

14 RCTs (1379 participants, 42% in 1 RCT) met the selection criteria. The quality of study …

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  • For correspondence: Dr R Schachar, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. russell.schachar{at}

  • Source of funding: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.