Objective: This is a multisite, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the safety and efficacy of bupropion in the treatment of children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADDH).
Method: In a four-center, double-blind comparison of bupropion (n = 72) and placebo (n = 37), children aged 6 to 12 years meeting DSM-III criteria for ADDH were randomized to receive bupropion 3 to 6 mg/kg per day or placebo, administered twice daily, at 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Measures of efficacy included the Conners Parent and Teacher Questionnaires (93-item, 39-item, and 10 item), Clinical Global Impressions Scales of Severity and Improvement, the Sternberg Short-Term Memory Task, and the Continuous Performance Test. Screen and posttreatment physical examinations, electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, and clinical laboratory evaluations were performed. Height, weight, and vital signs were measured and adverse experiences were assessed weekly.
Results: A significant treatment effect, apparent as early as day 3, was present for both conduct problems and hyperactivity on the Conners 10-item and 39-item teacher's checklist, and at day 28 for conduct problems and restless-impulsive behavior on the 93-item parent questionnaire. Findings were of smaller magnitude for parent ratings than teacher ratings. Significant treatment effects were present on both the Continuous Performance Test and memory retrieval test. Effect sizes of bupropion/placebo differences for teacher and parent ratings in this study were somewhat smaller than for standard stimulant drugs used to treat ADDH. Bupropion appeared to be well tolerated in most children. Dermatological reactions were twice as frequent in the drug group as the placebo group, with four reactions involving rash and urticaria that were serious enough to require discontinuation of medication.
Conclusions: Bupropion may be a useful addition to available treatments for ADDH. Comparative trials with such standard drugs as methylphenidate are warranted to determine the relative clinical merits of bupropion.