Leading Article

CNS Drugs

, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 539-554

First online:

Long-Term Outcomes with Medications for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Current Status of Knowledge
  • Yu-Shu HuangAffiliated withDepartment of Child Psychiatry and Sleep Center, Chang Gung Memorial HospitalCollege of Medicine, Chang Gung University
  • , Ming-Horng TsaiAffiliated withCollege of Medicine, Chang Gung UniversityDivisions of Pediatric Neonatology and Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial HospitalChang Gung Institute of Technology Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common neuro-behavioural disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, is a chronic disorder and often persists into adulthood. CNS stimulants have been the most well known treatment for ADHD for several decades due to their high effectiveness, good safety profiles and relatively minor adverse effects. Non-stimulant agents, including atomoxetine, extended-release guanfacine and extended-release clonidine (US FDA approved), and several non-FDA-approved agents, such as bupropion and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), were recently proven to be effective alternatives to the stimulants in several open-label and placebo-controlled trials. However, most medication trials for ADHD have been short term and thus have not provided information on the long-term outcomes of ADHD treatment. Since the medical treatment of many children with ADHD, especially those with more severe symptoms or co-morbid disorders, has to be continued for several years, recent studies have shifted their focus from the acute effectiveness of stimulants or non-stimulant drugs to the long-term outcomes of medications for ADHD. Evidence has shown that stimulants, along with the non-stimulants atomoxetine and extended-release guanfacine, are continuously effective for 24-month treatment periods with few and tolerable adverse effects.