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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Drug Therapy for Treating Adult ADD

08/04/1998

Question:

I am about to ask my physician to evaluate me for ADD. The original diagnosis of depression seemed correct at the time, however, I suspect that ADD may be the actual culprit. Please address some of the more successful drug therapies available for treating ADD in mid-aged adults.

Answer:

The treatment of ADHD in adults is similar to treatment in children. If there are no comorbidities (co-existing conditions) such as depression, then stimulants such as methylphenidate are the first choice in the medical treatment. If you have had depression in the past, there is the chance that this can recur; therefore, an antidepressant may be your best option. Antidepressants that have been found effective in the treatment of ADHD include imiprimine and bupropion. Other antidepressants may also be effective. In some persons, the addition of stimulants to the antidepressant may help improve symptoms of ADHD, once the depressive symptoms are under control.

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Response by:

Margaret C Sweeney, MD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati