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Withdrawal effect of chronic amphetamine exposure during adolescence on complex maze performance



National survey data suggest a steady increase in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in children, particularly Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As nearly all children diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed stimulant drugs, rationale exists to quantitatively characterize behavioral responses following withdrawal from chronic stimulant dosing. These rodent experiments involved chronic administration of 7.5 mg/kg, s.c. amphetamine to subjects throughout adolescence followed by cognitive tests to gauge learning and performance during the withdrawal stage 7 to 14 days past withdrawal. Tests used a complex Stone 14-unit multiple T-maze, which is a robust paradigm for demonstrating age-related differences in rodent models when behavioral cognitive endpoints are used. Results reveal that amphetamine-treated subjects committed fewer major and retracing errors with increased minor errors and a significantly lower mean completion time. These findings suggest that pharmacotherapy aimed at adolescent-phase treatment of ADHD does not provoke spatial memory deficits at times proximal to drug withdrawal and lends support to amphetamine use in the treatment of ADHD children.