Venlafaxine in the treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Robert L. Findling, Laurence L. Greenhill, Nora K. McNamara, Christine A. Demeter, Lisa A. Kotler, Mary Ann O'Riordan, Carolyn Myers, Michael D. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objectives of this pilot study were to explore the changes in symptom severity, tolerability, and the pharmacodynamics of venlafaxine treatment in youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: This was a 2-week, open-label, outpatient trial of venlafaxine in children and adolescents, ages 5-17 years, with ADHD. Three dosing strata, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg/kg per day, were examined. ADHD symptom severity and improvement assessments included the ADHD Rating Scale (ARS-IV) and the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI). During this study, venlafaxine, O-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV), norepinephrine, and serotonin concentrations were obtained. Results: Thirty-eight participants (33 males) were treated in this trial. Overall, parent-completed and teacher-completed ARS-IV total scores showed a statistically significant positive change at the end of the study when compared to baseline (p < 0.05). Significant increases in plasma venlafaxine concentrations were observed at day 15 when compared to day 8 (p = 0.04). In addition, plasma norepinephrine and serotonin concentrations were found to be significantly decreased from baseline at end of study (p < 0.05). Four patients ended participation in the study prematurely: lost to follow up (n = 2), withdrawal of consent (n = 1), and worsening of ADHD symptoms after 8 days of treatment (n = 1). There were no discontinuations due to other adverse events. Conclusions: Venlafaxine appeared to offer some benefit and appears to be relatively safe for the short-term treatment of ADHD in this open-label trial. The pharmacodynamics of venlafaxine in youths are consistent with serotonergic and neuradrenergic modulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-445
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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