An Open Clinical Trial of Buspirone in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

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The efficacy of buspirone in controlling the symptoms of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was examined in 12 children with ADHD. Buspirone was used solely in all the children.


Twelve children (10 boys and 2 girls) aged between 6 and 12 years (mean age 8.2 years) with hyperkinetic disorder were studied. Standard rating scales such as the Conners Parent Abbreviated 10-Item Index (CPAI) and the Children Global Assessment Scale (CGAS) were used to collect data on the symptoms of ADHD. Visual analog scores were also obtained about the dimensions of hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and disruptive behavior. All the subjects were given buspirone in the dose of 0.5 mg/kg body weight per day. The dose range of buspirone used was 15 to 30 mg/day, given in b.i.d. dosages. The subjects continued the regimen for a period of 6 weeks. The ratings were done at baseline, 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 6 weeks after starting buspirone. A detailed side effect checklist was administered at the same intervals. The CPAI was also repeated after 2 weeks of discontinuation of buspirone.


When compared with baseline scores, all 12 subjects had shown significant improvement in hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and disruptive behavior. The mean (SD) CPAI score improved from 24.75 (2.7) at baseline to 11.25 (2.73), and the CGAS scores improved from 36.6 (5.58) to 67.1 (7.31) during the 6-week period of the study. The only side effect reported was mild dizziness, during the first week, by two subjects. Stopping the drug at the end of the study period of 6 weeks resulted in the reemergence of the symptoms.


Buspirone showed a favorable side effect profile and significantly reduced the symptoms of ADHD. It appears equally effective in improving the varied symptoms of the disorder. These preliminary findings of apparent efficacy of buspirone for ADHD in children indicate that future controlled trials are warranted. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 1998. 37(4):364–371.

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