Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct an initial evaluation of the efficacy of atomoxetine for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).
Method: Children with PDDs and a nonverbal IQ of >or=70 received atomoxetine (target dose 1.2-1.4 mg/kg/day) during the course of an 8-week, open-label, prospective study. Standardized assessments of efficacy and tolerability were collected at regular intervals during the trial.
Results: Sixteen children and adolescents (mean age 7.7 +/- 2.2 years, age range 6-14 years) with autistic disorder (n = 7), Asperger's disorder (n = 7), or PDD not otherwise specified (n = 2) received atomoxetine (mean dose 1.2 +/- 0.3 mg/kg/day). Twelve participants (75%) were rated as "much" or "very much improved" on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. The most significant improvement was seen in the area of ADHD symptoms as measured by the SNAP-IV and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (effect size = 1.0-1.9). Improvements of lesser magnitude (effect size = 0.4-1.1) were seen in irritability, social withdrawal, stereotypy, and repetitive speech. There were no significant changes on the Conners' Continuous Performance Test. Atomoxetine was well tolerated with the exception of 2 participants (13 %) who stopped medication due to irritability. Weight decreased by a mean of 0.8 kg during the 8-week trial.
Conclusions: Placebo-controlled studies are indicated to determine atomoxetine's efficacy for ADHD symptoms in PDDs.