New formulations of stimulants for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: therapeutic potential

CNS Drugs. 2004;18(14):1011-30. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200418140-00005.


New formulations of stimulant medications for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been an important focus for pharmaceutical industry research and development over the past decade. In this article, we review and assess the therapeutic potential of five new stimulant formulations (one immediate release and four longer-acting preparations) that have recently become available for the treatment of ADHD. While the therapeutic potential of immediate-release enantiomers of methylphenidate has not yet been clinically realised, new long-acting formulations of stimulants have changed the standard of care for children, adolescents and adults with ADHD. The longer duration of action of these once-daily compounds, and the consequent expansion of the duration of daily ADHD coverage afforded by them, has introduced the realistic possibility of reducing the overall daily burden of ADHD on affected individuals. Although more expensive, these new stimulant formulations are easier for patients to use than older stimulants, more resistant to abuse and misuse, and allow for increased privacy of ADHD treatment at school or work.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / chemistry
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacokinetics
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Humans
  • Methylphenidate / chemistry
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacokinetics
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Methylphenidate