Systematic chart review of the pharmacologic treatment of comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in youth with bipolar disorder

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 1999;9(4):247-56. doi: 10.1089/cap.1999.9.247.


The objective of this study was to evaluate pharmacological approaches for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with bioplar disorder and comorbid ADHD. The medical charts of 38 patients with diagnoses of both Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., revised ADHD and bipolar disorder were reviewed over multiple visits to assess improvement and prescription patterns. Logistic regression was used to model the probability of improvement at each visit, and robust standard errors were estimated in order to account for correlation among individuals using Huber's correction for clustered data. The proportion of visits at which ADHD symptoms were rated as improved following initial improvement in manic symptoms was 7.5 times greater than before initial improvement of manic symptoms. The recurrence of manic symptoms following their initial stabilization significantly inhibited ADHD response to medication. Although tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) significantly increased the probability of ADHD improvement following mood stabilization, there was also a significant association between treatment with TCAs and relapse of manic symptoms. Our results support the hypothesis that mood stabilization is a prerequisite for the successful pharmacologic treatment of ADHD in children with both ADHD and manic symptoms. Although TCAs can be helpful in the management of ADHD children with manic symptoms, these drugs should be used with caution since they can also have a destabilizing effect on manic symptoms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic