Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with monoamine amino acid precursors and organic cation transporter assay interpretation

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011 Jan 26:7:31-8. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S16270.


Background: This paper documents a retrospective pilot study of a novel approach for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with amino acid precursors of serotonin and dopamine in conjunction with urinary monoamine assays subjected to organic cation transporter (OCT) functional status determination. The goal of this research was to document the findings and related considerations of a retrospective chart review study designed to identify issues and areas of concern that will define parameters for a prospective controlled study.

Methods: This study included 85 patients, aged 4-18 years, who were treated with a novel amino acid precursor protocol. Their clinical course during the first 8-10 weeks of treatment was analyzed retrospectively. The study team consisted of PhD clinical psychologists, individuals compiling clinical data from records, and a statistician. The patients had been treated with a predefined protocol for administering amino acid precursors of serotonin and dopamine, along with OCT assay interpretation as indicated.

Results: In total, 67% of participants achieved significant improvement with only amino acid precursors of serotonin and dopamine. In patients who achieved no significant relief of symptoms with only amino acid precursors, OCT assay interpretation was utilized. In this subgroup, 30.3% achieved significant relief following two or three urine assays and dosage changes as recommended by the assay results. The total percentage of patients showing significant improvement was 77%.

Conclusion: The efficacy of this novel protocol appears superior to some ADHD prescription drugs, and therefore indicates a need for further studies to verify this observation. The findings of this study justify initiation of further prospective controlled studies in order to evaluate more formally the observed benefits of this novel approach in the treatment of ADHD.

Keywords: 5-hydroxytryptophan; L-dopa; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; organic cation transporter assay interpretation; tyrosine.

Publication types

  • Retracted Publication