The Short-Term Placebo Response in Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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To assess short-term placebo response in 6- to 13-year-old children with ADHD, children who were administered a double-blind placebo-methylphenidate trial, 1 week each, were included in the analysis. Conners’ parents and Teacher Rating scales, the Aggregate Neurobehavioral Student Health and Educational Review inventory, and the Matching Familiar Figure Test were employed. A reduction of 30% or more in one or more of the teachers report subscales was observed in 18.8% of the participants. Attention test performance resulted in 58% of children exhibiting reduction in error rates and 36.2% exhibited longer latency period. Significant correlations between placebo response and methylphenidate response in all of the teachers report subscales were found. Base line severity, learning problem and emotional status were found associated with placebo response. Short-term placebo response should be accounted for in children with ADHD.

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