Efficacy and safety of atomoxetine as add-on to psychoeducation in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in stimulant-naive Swedish children and adolescents

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Objective The primary objective of this study was to assess the impact of atomoxetine in combination with psychoeducation, compared with placebo and psychoeducation, on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in Swedish stimulant-naive pediatric patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). HRQL results will be presented elsewhere. Here, psychoeducation as well as efficacy and safety of the treatment are described. Patients and methods A total of 99 pediatric ADHD patients were randomized to a 10-week double-blind treatment with atomoxetine (49 patients) or placebo (50 patients). Parents of all patients received four sessions of psychoeducation. Atomoxetine was dosed up to approximately 1.2 mg/kg day (<= 70 kg) or 80 mg/day (>70 kg). Improvement of ADHD symptoms was evaluated using the ADHD rating scale (ADHD-RS) and clinical global impression (CGI) rating scales. Safety was assessed based on adverse events (AEs). Results The study population was predominantly male (80.8%) and diagnosed with the combined ADHD subtype (77.8%). The least square mean (lsmean) change from baseline to endpoint in total ADHD-RS score was -19.0 for atomoxetine patients and -6.3 for placebo patients, resulting in an effect size (ES) of 1.3 at endpoint. Treatment response (reduction in ADHD-RS score of >= 25 or >= 40%) was achieved in 71.4 or 63.3% of atomoxetine patients and 28.6 or 14.3% of placebo patients. The lsmean change from baseline to endpoint in CGI-Severity group compared with -0.3 in the placebo group. The difference between treatments in CGI-Improvement at endpoint was -1.4 in favor of atomoxetine. No serious AEs occurred. The safety profile of atomoxetine was in line with the current label. Conclusions Atomoxetine combined with psychoeducation was superior to placebo and psychoeducation in ADHD core symptoms improvement. The large ES might be a result of including stimulant-naive patients only, but also may indicate a positive interaction between atomoxetine treatment and psychoeducation, possibly by increased compliance.


  • Paer Svanborg
  • Gunilla Thernlund
  • Per A. Gustafsson
  • Bruno Hagglof
  • Lynne Poole
  • Bjoern Kadesjoe
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry


  • parenting education, clinical research/trial, ADHD, atomoxetine, pharmacotherapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-249
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch