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 July 23, 2003
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SAN FRANCISCO (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Nearly 70 percent of children diagnosed with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder may still experience symptoms as adults. Now, experts say medication can help.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied more than 240 adults who suffered from ADHD. All participants had a history of the disorder before age 7 and many were not properly diagnosed until they became adults. The patients were given daily doses of 20 milligrams, 40 milligrams or 60 milligrams of amphetamine medication for four weeks.

Results of the study show adults with ADHD who are treated with amphetamines experience fewer symptoms associated with their disorder. The patients rating scores, which are used to measure the effectiveness of a drug, were significantly lower after being treated with amphetamines. Reduction in rating scores indicates improved symptoms.

Patients who took the lowest dose of medication saw a 40-percent mean score decrease in symptoms. Those on the median dose had their symptoms drop by 41 percent, and participants on the highest dose saw a 44-percent decline in symptoms.

Most side effects associated with taking the drugs were mild and occurred early in the study. The most frequently reported adverse effects were dry mouth, loss of appetite, insomnia and headache. These problems improved over time.

Nearly 8 million American adults have ADHD. The neurological brain disorder causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD can often lead to psychological, work-related and social problems.

Richard H. Weisler, M.D., from the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine, says, "This medication can significantly improve adults' ADHD symptoms and, subsequently, their ability to work, socialize, and be more productive in everyday activities."

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, May 17-22, 2003

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