Comorbidity prevalence and treatment outcome in children and adolescents with ADHD

Laura Reale, Beatrice Bartoli, Massimo Cartabia, Michele Zanetti, Maria Antonella Costantino, Maria Paola Canevini, Cristiano Termine, Maurizio Bonati, Lombardy ADHD Group, Umberto Balottin, Matteo Alessio Chiappedi

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Abstract

Although ADHD comorbidity has been widely studied, some issues remain unsolved. This multicenter observational study aims to examine comorbid psychiatric disorders in a clinical sample of newly diagnosed, treatment naïve children and adolescents with and without ADHD and, to compare treatment efficacy based on the type of comorbidity. We performed an analysis of the medical records of patients identified from the Regional ADHD Registry database, enrolled in 18 ADHD centers in the 2011-2016 period. 1919 of 2861 subjects evaluated (67%) met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD: 650 (34%) had only ADHD, while 1269 (66%) had at least one comorbid psychiatric disorder (learning disorders, 56%; sleep disorders, 23%; oppositional defiant disorder, 20%; anxiety disorders, 12%). Patients with ADHD of combined type and with severe impairment (CGI-S ≥5) were more likely to present comorbidity. 382 of 724 (53%) followed up patients improved after 1 year of treatment. ADHD with comorbidity showed greater improvement when treated with combined interventions or methylphenidate alone. Specifically, combined treatment showed significant superiority for ADHD with learning disorders (ES 0.66) and ODD (ES 0.98), lower for ADHD with sleep or anxiety disorders. Training intervention alone showed only medium efficacy (ES 0.50) for ADHD and learning disorders. This study was the first describing comorbidity patterns of ADHD in Italy, confirming, in a multicenter clinical setting, that ADHD is more often a complex disorder. Findings highlight important diagnostic, therapeutic, and service organization aspects that should be broadly extended to ensure an appropriate and homogenous ADHD management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1457
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume26
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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Keywords

  • Journal Article

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