Last updated on November 2010

The Effectiveness of Atomoxetine on Brain Imaging Neuropsychological and Social Functions in Adults With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Brief description of study

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been recognized as a common (5-8%), early-onset, long-term impairing, heterogeneous neuropsychiatric disorder with high heritability. Pharmacotherapy (methylphenidate and atomoxetine) has been proved to be the most effective treatment for ADHD. Gau (PI) has done extensive research on ADHD and published 7 SCI papers in ADHD pharmacotherapy. The PI published the first paper in the effectiveness of atomoxetine in improving executive functions among 30 boys with ADHD in the world (International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009 Oct 23:1-14. [Epub]). Due to its lifelong impairments up to adulthood, adult ADHD has drawn much more attention in Western studies in the past decade; however, there is lack of such information in Asian population except the PI's three SCI papers on adult ADHD. Because little is known about atomoxetine effect in adults with ADHD except symptoms reduction, this proposal aims to investigate the efficacy of atomoxetine beyond symptoms improvement. The significance of this project is its novelty and research and clinical relevance because there is lack of information regarding long-term effect of atomoxetine on neuropsychological and brain imaging functions on adults with ADHD, a high-prevalent mental disorder with long-term impairment in adults.

Detailed Study Description

Specific Aims: 1. To examine the efficacy of atomoxetine in improving neuropsychological functioning (CANTAB, Time Perception Tasks) and structural (DSI) and functional (resting fMRI) brain connectivity as the primary efficacy endpoints. 2. To examine the efficacy of atomoxetine in reducing ADHD core symptoms and in improving family/social/academic/occupational adjustment and quality of life. The study design is a randomized open-label, methylphenidate control trial. The sample consists of 60 adults, aged 18-50, with clinical diagnosis of DSM-IV. All participants will be randomly assigned to atomoxetine (n= 30), methylphenidate (n= 15), and clinical visit with psychological counseling (n=15) in a 8-week randomized clinical trial with 3 treatment arms. The measures included psychiatric interviews (ADHD+SADS), the CGI-ADHD-S, the standardized self-reported questionnaires (the AAQoL, WFIRS-S, and WFIRS-P for social function; ASRS for ADHD symptoms), neuropsychological tests (CANTAB including attention tasks, visual memory, executive functioning, and gambling test; Time Perception Task), and brain imaging (DSI and resting fMRI). They will be reassessed with safety, ADHD symptoms and social functioning/quality of life at baseline, week 2 (± 5 days), week 4 (± 5 days), and week 8 (± 5 days); neuropsychological tests at baseline, week 4 (± 5 days), and week 8 (± 5 days); and brain imaging studies (DSI and resting-fMRI) at baseline and week 8 (± 5 days). Additionally, blood sample will be collected at baseline for future pharmacogenomic study. We anticipate that this study will be one of the first to investigate the efficacy of atomoxetine on neuropsychological functioning, and structural and functional brain connectivity in the world. If this research can be carried out, it will be the first project using brain images as assessment tools in a clinical trial among psychiatric patients in psychiatric field in Taiwan.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT00917371

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Susan Shur-Fen Gau, MD, PhD

National Taiwan Univeristy Hospital
Taipei, Taiwan
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