Background: It is becoming commonly recognized that adults suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since medications used in the past of treat adults with ADHD may be ineffective or poorly tolerated by some patients, it is important to determine if newly available medications can safely ameliorate symptoms of ADHD in adults.
Method: An open clinical trial was undertaken to examine whether venlafaxine was safe and effective in the treatment of adults with ADHD. Ten subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD were enrolled in this 8-week trial. Individuals were started on 37.5 mg of venlafaxine b.i.d. If moderate ADHD symptoms persisted at the end of Week 4, the dose of venlafaxine was increased to 75 mg b.i.d. Assessments of ADHD symptomatology included the ADHD Rating Scale, Self-Report Version (ARS) and the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale.
Results: Nine patients completed the study. At the end of the study, 7 patients were receiving 37.5 mg b.i.d. of venlafaxine. Repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated that treatment with venlafaxine was associated with significant reductions in ADHD symptomatology (p < .02 for the ARS; p < .005 for the CGI). Of the 9 subjects who completed the trial, 7 were considered responders. Venlafaxine was well tolerated, and most patients experienced only mild side effects.
Conclusion: Venlafaxine may be a promising agent for the treatment of ADHD in adults. Controlled clinical trials are needed to further examine this issue.