Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate: a new therapeutic option for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

CNS Drugs. 2012 Aug 1;26(8):691-705. doi: 10.2165/11634340-000000000-00000.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with substantial functional, clinical and economic burdens. It is among the most common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, and often persists into adulthood. Both medication and psychosocial interventions are recommended for the treatment of ADHD. However, ADHD treatment practices vary considerably, depending on medication availability, reimbursement and the evolution of clinical practice in each country. In Europe, stimulants and atomoxetine are widely available medications for the treatment of ADHD, whereas in the US approved treatment options also include extended-release formulations of clonidine and guanfacine. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (lisdexamfetamine) is a long-acting, prodrug formulation of dexamfetamine. It is currently licensed in the US, Canada and Brazil, and is undergoing phase III studies in Europe. We performed a PubMed/MEDLINE search looking for recent (2005-2012) scientific papers regarding the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, efficacy and safety of lisdexamfetamine. The lisdexamfetamine molecule is therapeutically inactive and is enzymatically hydrolysed, primarily in the blood, to the active dexamfetamine. This conversion is unaffected by gastrointestinal pH and variations in normal transit times. Lisdexamfetamine was developed with the goal of providing an extended duration of effect that is consistent throughout the day. Clinical trials have demonstrated robust clinical efficacy of lisdexamfetamine in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults with ADHD with dose-dependent improvements in the core symptoms of ADHD. Studies have further shown that the duration of action of lisdexamfetamine continues for 13 hours post-dosing in children and for 14 hours in adults. The tolerability profile of lisdexamfetamine is consistent with those of other stimulant medications, with decreased appetite, insomnia, abdominal pain and irritability among the more frequent treatment-emergent adverse events, most of which are mild to moderate in intensity and transient in nature. There are currently no parallel-group, head-to-head trial data comparing the efficacy and safety of lisdexamfetamine with other medications for ADHD. However, the available data, including a large effect size and consistent plasma concentrations throughout the day, suggest that lisdexamfetamine is a useful treatment option for patients with ADHD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Dextroamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Dextroamphetamine / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate
  • Dextroamphetamine