Gamma-linolenic acid for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: placebo-controlled comparison to D-amphetamine

Biol Psychiatry. 1989 Jan 15;25(2):222-8. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(89)90167-4.


In a Latin-square double-crossover with random assignment to sequence, 18 boys, aged 6-12 years, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder received 1 month each of placebo, D-amphetamine, and Efamol (evening primrose oil containing gamma-linolenic acid, with vitamin E as preservative). Parents' ratings were noncontributory. Teachers' ratings showed a trend of Efamol effect between placebo and D-amphetamine. The trend reached significance (p less than 0.05) only on Conners Hyperactivity Factor. Dosage may be crucial; 8 Efamol capsules per day were used in this study. Heuristic data scrutiny suggested possible interaction (sequence effect). Further study with a different design and dose is suggested. This study does not establish Efamol as an effective treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dextroamphetamine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Linolenic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid


  • Linolenic Acids
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • Dextroamphetamine