Research, Evaluation and Practice Unit, Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 999 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin, Victoria Australia 3189. Email: email@example.com
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type: better executive function performance with longer-term psychostimulant medication
Version of Record online: 23 SEP 2003
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 37, Issue 5, pages 570–576, October 2003
How to Cite
Vance, A. L. A., Maruff, P. and Barnett, R. (2003), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type: better executive function performance with longer-term psychostimulant medication. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 37: 570–576. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2003.01238.x
Paul Maruff, Senior Research Fellow; Rebecca Barnett, PhD candidate
Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, Melbourne
- Issue online: 23 SEP 2003
- Version of Record online: 23 SEP 2003
- Received 2 January 2003; revised 2 May 2003; accepted 21 July 2003.
- executive function;
- psychostimulant medication
Objective: Executive function deficits are evident in primary school-age children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type (ADHD-CT) and are possibly improved by longer-term psychostimulant medication. In contrast, a substantial subgroup of children with ADHD-CT become symptomatic despite longer-term psychostimulant medication use. We investigated the hypothesis that better executive function performance is associated with the use of longer-term psychostimulant medication in primary school-age children with ADHD-CT who are again symptomatic of ADHD-CT, despite its use.
Method: A cross-sectional study of 40 primary school-age psychostimulant medication-naïve children with ADHD-CT, 26 with symptomatic ADHD-CT and treated with psychostimulant medication, and 26 control children without ADHD-CT was conducted. Nonverbal tasks of executive function were compared across the three groups.
Results: The longer-term psychostimulant medication-treated group had a better executive function performance, despite being symptomatic for ADHD-CT, than the psychostimulant medication-naïve group.
Conclusion: Improved executive function may be a marker of psychostimulant medication effect in children with ADHD-CT treated in the longer term. This improvement may not correlate with that of the ADHD-CT symptoms. Longitudinal studies are required.