Integrative neuroscience approach to predict ADHD stimulant response

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Abstract

Despite high rates of prescription, little is known about the long-term consequences of stimulant medication therapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sufferers. Historically, the clinical use of stimulants for ADHD has been based on trial and error before optimal therapy is reached. Concurrently, scientific research on the mechanism of action of stimulants has influenced neurobiological models of ADHD, but has not always informed their prescription. Whilst the two main stimulant types (methylphenidate and dexamphetamine) have numerous similarities, they also differ (slightly) in mechanism and possibly individual response. A further issue relates to differences in cost and availability compounded by the expectation for stimulants to be effective in ameliorating a broad spectrum of ADHD-related symptoms. Thus, there is an increasing need for treating clinicians to prescribe not only the most effective drug, but also the most appropriate dose with the associated release mechanism and schedule for each ADHD patient presented. In this regard, the field is witnessing an emergence of the personalized medicine approach to ADHD, in which treatment decisions are tailored to each individual. This shift requires a new approach to research into treatment response prediction. Given the heterogeneity of ADHD, a profile of information may be required to capture the most sensitive predictors of treatment response in individuals. These profiles will also benefit from the integration of data from clinical rating scales with more direct measures of cognition and brain function. In conclusion, there is a need to establish a more robust normative framework as the baseline for treatment, as well as diagnostic decisions, and as discussed, the growth of integrated neuroscience databases will be important in this regard.

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