Anxiety reduction on atomoxetine and methylphenidate medication in children with ADHD

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Abstract

Background:

Atomoxetine and methylphenidate are widely used to treat attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with similar effectiveness after 8 weeks of treatment, when atomoxetine has reached its a full effect. Both drugs have also been shown to have an effect on comorbid anxiety. To the best of our knowledge, no study has compared their effect on the dynamics of anxiety symptom reduction. The aim of this study was to compare the medication effect on core and comorbid anxiety symptom dynamics in children with ADHD.

Methods:

Sixty-nine patients participated in the study: 36 patients were taking atomoxetine and 33 patients, methylphenidate. Therapeutic effect on core symptoms of ADHD was measured on the ADHD-rating scale IV, and symptoms of anxiety were measured using the Conners Parent Rating Scale (CPRS). Symptoms were measured prior to and every 2 weeks during 8 weeks of treatment.

Results:

There was a significant decrease in CPRS anxiety subscale score in both medication groups. Anxiety subscale score was significantly lower in the atomoxetine group in the fourth week, and lasted through to 8 weeks of medication.

Conclusion:

Both atomoxetine and methylphenidate reduced the symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. Atomoxetine was more effective in anxiety symptom reduction from the fourth week of treatment.

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