Efficacy of Venlafaxine and Methylphenidate in the Treatment of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Background: The role of noradrenergic system is strongly considered in etiology and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Regarding the role of norepinephrin and serotonin neurotransmitters in activity and attention control processes, this study was performed to compare effectiveness of venlafaxine and methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD. Materials and Methods: Forty children with ADHD (aged 6-12) were randomly allocated to receive venlafaxine or methylphenidate in a 6-week clinical trial in Emam-Hossein Hospital. There were no significant differences between groups for age, weight, type and severity of the disorder. Based on DSM-IV criteria and ADHD Rating Scale, patients were diagnosed as having combined and inattentive types of ADHD. Treatment outcome was assessed using parent and teacher versions of ADHD Rating Scale in weeks 2, 4 and 6. Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in ADHD Rating Scale scores and clinical improvement in each group and there was significant difference between two groups. The most common adverse effects in venlafaxine group were nausea, sedation, dry mouth and dizziness. Conclusion: Venlafaxine is effective in treatment of children with ADHD and could be used as a safe drug in these children; though further studies with greater sample sizes are needed to confirm these results.