A new drug, ADDERALL XR® has been found to improve driving performance, cognitive function and attention in young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The result has been presented at the 18th Annual U.S. Psychiatric & Mental Health Congress in Las Vegas, NV and establishes that the drug helps young adults improve their ability to drive over a 12-hour period.
Accidents are the leading cause of death until age 40, the incidence of which is greater among adults with ADHD. Furthermore, the incidence of traffic violations and license suspensions is much greater than among patients with ADHD.
Infact, ADHD patients were five times more likely to have speeding tickets (5 or more) and three times more likely to succumb to vehicular clashes (thrice or more). This observation could be because of the fact that adolescent and adult patients often fail to appreciate the effect that ADHD symptoms such as inattention have on daily activities such as driving.
The researchers hence studied the effect of ADDERALL XR, a major ADHD therapy, on driving performance in young adult patients with ADHD. Participants received doses of ADDERALL XR at 20 milligrams (mg) for the first week and then increased to 40 mg and 50 mg for the second and third weeks, respectively.
All patients were evaluated for driving performance after the medication was administered. The STISIM was used to analyze the critical driving skills, including situation awareness, hazard perception, risk assessment and decision-making under time pressure.
Patients taking the drug demonstrated significant improvement in driving safety and performance compared to a placebo. Safety-related driving parameters, including speeding tickets, traffic tickets, crashes, crash avoidance rating, time to collision and excess speed were some of the factors taken into consideration during the assessment.
Furthermore, ADDERALL XR significantly improved ADHD symptom control in young adults with ADHD as compared to those on placebo. Eighty percent of patients experienced at least a 30 percent reduction in their ADHD symptoms. It also had significant effects on the participants' attention, an important cognitive ability.
The majority of side effects during the trial were mild or moderate and consistent with known side effects of stimulant medications such as decreased appetite, weight loss, dry mouth, insomnia and bruxism (teeth grinding).
These findings suggest that there is a carryover beneficial effect of having performed a mentally demanding task like driving. The effect would even be valuable when the individual is not taking the medication.