An open trial of bupropion for ADHD in adolescents with substance use disorders and conduct disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;37(12):1271-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199812000-00010.


Objective: Adolescents with conduct disorder (CD) and substance use disorders (SUD) have higher rates of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than those without CD and SUD. Comorbid ADHD may contribute to more severe SUD. Treatment of ADHD may enhance effective treatment of substance abuse and behavior problems, yet there are few data regarding pharmacological treatment of ADHD in such youths.

Method: Pilot data are presented from a 5-week, open-label bupropian trial in 13 nondepressed adolescent boys in a residential treatment program focusing on substance and behavioral treatments. All had diagnoses of ADHD, CD, and SUD. Patients' doses were titrated to a maximum fixed daily dose of 300 mg of bupropion. The Conners Hyperactivity Index and Daydream Attention scores, along with Clinical Global Impressions Severity of Illness (CGI-S) ratings, were obtained at baseline and at the fifth week of treatment.

Results: Subjects' mean Conners Hyperactivity Index score declined from 75.5 to 65.4 (p < .01, Wilcoxon signed rank test) (13% decline). The mean Daydream Attention score declined from 59.5 to 53.6 (p < .02, Wilcoxon signed rank test) (10% decline). Mean CGI-S declined from 4.9 to 3.0 (p < .002, Wilcoxon signed rank test) (39% decline).

Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that bupropion may be a useful treatment for ADHD in adolescents with CD and SUD; they suggest the need for a controlled trial of bupropion in such youths.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use*
  • Conduct Disorder / complications*
  • Conduct Disorder / drug therapy
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Bupropion