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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2013 December;54(4):297-315

language: English

Pharmacological treatment and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults

Pallanti S. 1, 2, 3, 4, Salerno L. 4

1 Department of Psychiatry University of Florence, Florence, Italy;
2 Department of Psychiatry Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY, USA;
3 Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center New York, NY, USA;
4 Institute of Neurosciences, Florence, Italy


Aim: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood has been studied extensively in recent years. ADHD prevalence and persistence over the lifespan have been well documented, along with its adverse consequences on individual’s life. This current review aims to examine research to date on the treatment and management of adult ADHD, with a particular focus on pharmacological treatment.
Methods: A literature search was performed in MEDLINE, PubMed and Cochrane databases.
Results: The diagnosis of adult ADHD is challenging because of its different clinical presentation in adulthood, and for the confounding effects of the frequent presence of comorbidities. There is a substantial agreement in considering a multimodal approach, combining medication, psychological and psychosocial interventions, as the most effective treatment of ADHD in adults as well in children. Stimulants are the most effective drug for ADHD treatment, but the presence and severity of comorbidities affect the treatment choice and outcomes.
Conclusion: Despite the guidelines recommendations and the well documented safety and effectiveness of ADHD medications, adults affected by this disorder still suffer for the noticeable gap between research and clinical practice. The majority of drugs currently used in children are still not licensed for adults, and their availability varies among countries. This condition determines a considerable difficulty in the treatment of adults with ADHD, mostly in European countries.

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