Pemoline-associated hepatic failure: a critical analysis of the literature

Pediatr Neurol. 1997 Jan;16(1):14-6. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(96)00266-4.


Pemoline is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant approved for use as part of the comprehensive medical management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An increased risk of acute hepatic failure is believed to be associated with pemoline usage, raising concerns about its prescription. A descriptive meta-analysis of the existing scientific literature and drug reporting databases was undertaken to provide more accurate understanding of this possible risk. The analysis appears to indicate that current assumptions of the risk of acute hepatic failure posed by pemoline usage alone are overestimates. Several recommendations regarding hepatic monitoring in the setting of pemoline prescription are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure / chemically induced*
  • Pemoline / administration & dosage
  • Pemoline / adverse effects*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Pemoline