Objective: Trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS), a minimal-risk noninvasive neuromodulation method, showed potential benefits for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in an unblinded open study. The present blinded sham-controlled trial was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of TNS for ADHD and potential changes in brain spectral power using resting-state quantitative electroencephalography.
Method: Sixty-two children 8 to 12 years old, with full-scale IQ of at least 85 and Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-diagnosed ADHD, were randomized to 4 weeks of nightly treatment with active or sham TNS, followed by 1 week without intervention. Assessments included weekly clinician-administered ADHD Rating Scales (ADHD-RS) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scales and quantitative electroencephalography at baseline and week 4.
Results: ADHD-RS total scores showed significant group-by-time interactions (F1,228 = 8.12, p = .005; week 4 Cohen d = 0.5). CGI-Improvement scores also favored active treatment (χ21,168 = 8.75, p = .003; number needed to treat = 3). Resting-state quantitative electroencephalography showed increased spectral power in the right frontal and frontal midline frequency bands with active TNS. Neither group had clinically meaningful adverse events.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates TNS efficacy for ADHD in a blinded sham-controlled trial, with estimated treatment effect size similar to non-stimulants. TNS is well tolerated and has minimal risk. Additional research should examine treatment response durability and potential impact on brain development with sustained use.
Clinical trial registration information: Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation for ADHD; http://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02155608.
Keywords: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; clinical trial; neuromodulation; trigeminal nerve stimulation.
Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.