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Friday, January 24, 2014

Combination Therapy for ADHD and Aggression

From Smart Kids with LD

January 21, 2014

Findings from a recent study suggest that for children with ADHD who are also physically aggressive, a combination of stimulant medication, an antipsychotic drug, and behavior management techniques reduces aggression and serious behavior problems.

According to an article in Medical News Today, the study “included 168 children ages 6 to 12 who had been diagnosed with ADHD and displayed significant physical aggression.”

The children were divided into two groups. All participants were given a stimulant medication and their parents received behavior management training. In addition, some participants in an “augmented group” were also given an antipsychotic medication.

Results for this “augmented” group showed “significant improvement on scales measuring disruptive behavior and aggression compared to the children who did not receive the antipsychotic medication.”

Explaining the study, lead author Michael Aman, director of clinical trials at Ohio State’s Nisonger Center and emeritus professor of psychology said:

"Combination pharmacotherapy is becoming common in child and adolescent psychiatry, but there has been little research evaluating it… Our findings may be considered somewhat controversial because they appear to support the use of two drugs over one for treating children with aggression and disruptive behavior when things do not seem to be going well. Many practitioners have been taught to ‘Keep things simple and safe’ in their medical training. In general, this is good advice.

We conducted this study because we viewed the combination of ADHD and significant physical aggression – especially the aggression – as a serious situation. It is not uncommon to use more than one medicine for other serious situations, such as when treating cancer or epilepsy for instance. Although doctors have often used stimulants and antipsychotics together in recent years, we did not have good evidence until now that they would work more effectively when carefully staged and given together."

This study was conducted with the University of Pittsburgh, Stony Brook University, and Case Western Reserve University. The article, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrycan be accessed online.

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