Effects of Iron Supplementation on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children

Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Jan;38(1):20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.08.014.

Abstract

Iron deficiency has been suggested as a possible contributing cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. This present study examined the effects of iron supplementation on ADHD in children. Twenty-three nonanemic children (aged 5-8 years) with serum ferritin levels <30 ng/mL who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD were randomized (3:1 ratio) to either oral iron (ferrous sulfate, 80 mg/day, n = 18) or placebo (n = 5) for 12 weeks. There was a progressive significant decrease in the ADHD Rating Scale after 12 weeks on iron (-11.0 +/- 13.9; P < 0.008), but not on placebo (3.0 +/- 5.7; P = 0.308). Improvement on Conners' Parent Rating Scale (P = 0.055) and Conners' Teacher Rating Scale (P = 0.076) with iron supplementation therapy failed to reach significance. The mean Clinical Global Impression-Severity significantly decreased at 12 weeks (P < 0.01) with iron, without change in the placebo group. Iron supplementation (80 mg/day) appeared to improve ADHD symptoms in children with low serum ferritin levels suggesting a need for future investigations with larger controlled trials. Iron therapy was well tolerated and effectiveness is comparable to stimulants.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Ferrous Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Iron / deficiency*
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Pilot Projects
  • Placebos
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / complications
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Placebos
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Ferritins
  • Iron