Caffeine is one of the most widespread psychotropic substances in the world. It exerts multiple effects on the brain including adenosine receptor antagonism, and thereby has been found to modulate aspects of cognition, including attention, in animal models and in healthy human volunteers. This review considers what is known of the effects of caffeine on symptoms and cognitive functions in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a prototypical disorder of cognitive dysfunction. We consider the merits of investigating further caffeine's therapeutic potential as a monotherapy or as an adjunctive agent in ADHD. The potential benefits of re-opening a dialogue regarding the use of caffeine in ADHD clinical practice are highlighted, along with potential implications for the use of adenosine receptor antagonists in ADHD and other disorders characterised by cognitive impairment.
Keywords: Adenosine; antagonists; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; caffeine; methylphenidate.
© The Author(s) 2014.