Increased Prefrontal Hemodynamic Change After Atomoxetine Administration in Pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder as Measured by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015 Mar;69(3):161-70. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12251. Epub 2014 Dec 17.


Aim: Atomoxetine, approved in Japan for the treatment of pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in April 2009, is a nonstimulant that is thought to act presynaptically via the inhibition of norepinephrine reuptake. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive optical tool that can be used to study oxygenation and hemodynamic changes in the cerebral cortex. The present study examined the effects of a clinical dose of atomoxetine on changes in prefrontal hemodynamic activity in children with ADHD, as measured by near-infrared spectroscopy using the Stroop Color-Word Task.

Methods: Ten children with ADHD participated in the present study. We used 24-channel near-infrared spectroscopy to measure the relative concentrations of oxyhemoglobin in the frontal lobes of participants in the drug-naïve condition and those who had received atomoxetine for 8 weeks. Measurements were conducted every 0.1 s during the Stroop Color-Word Task. We used the ADHD Rating Scale-IV-Japanese version (Home Version) to evaluate ADHD symptoms.

Results: We found a significant decrease in ADHD Rating Scale-IV-Japanese version scores, from 30.7 to 22.6 (P=0.003). During the Stroop Color-Word Task, we found significantly higher levels of oxyhemoglobin changes in the prefrontal cortex of participants in the atomoxetine condition compared with those in the drug-naïve condition.

Conclusions: This increase in oxyhemoglobin changes might indicate an intensified prefrontal hemodynamic response induced by atomoxetine. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a sensitive tool for measuring the pharmacological effects of atomoxetine in children with ADHD.

Keywords: atomoxetine; functional neuroimaging study; near-infrared spectroscopy; pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; prefrontal hemodynamic response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Atomoxetine Hydrochloride / pharmacology*
  • Atomoxetine Hydrochloride / therapeutic use
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxyhemoglobins / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Stroop Test


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • Atomoxetine Hydrochloride