Thursday, 26 March 2015

Protocol for a systematic review: The efficacy of various treatment options for children with ADHD

SPHPM’s Matthew Page has co-authored a paper with researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the Regional Health Council in Madrid, the Spanish Council for Scientific Research and the University of Valencia, on a protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for youths with ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting adolescents and children. It is defined as a chronic condition with symptoms such as impulsive behaviour, short attention spans at a level which is uncommon for children of that age and significant hyperactive behaviour. These symptoms can affect school performance and impact daily routines of children. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study indicated that 26 million children (and adolescents) are living with ADHD. This highlights the impact of ADHD in communities and on health care services given the economic and social strain it creates.

Treatment for ADHD is most commonly the use of psychological therapy and the use of pharmacological treatment. The use of stimulants is utilised in children who are at school-age and for adolescents who have a severe form of ADHD. The most common form of pharmacological treatments in Western regions are non-stimulant medication (such as clonidine), antidepressants and stimulant based medication (amphetamines).

The last ten years indicate a spike in the number of individuals diagnosed with ADHD and subsequently, the use of prescription medication for ADHD. Given these statistics, there are contrasting views on the correct method of treating individuals with ADHD. Whilst there has been a significant amount of research defining and exploring ADHD, there is a paucity of research in determining, assessing and comparing the various options for treatment. The research question developed for this systematic review is: “For children and adolescents with ADHD, what is the comparative efficacy and safety of competing pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments?”

The protocol provides a detailed description of the planned methods of the systematic review and network meta-analysis. Work on the review is commencing in May 2015. It is hoped that this systematic review will determine the safety and effectiveness of various forms of treatment for ADHD and that the findings will provide health professionals and providers with the necessary resources to determine the most effective form of treatment for each individual.

Read the paper here.

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