Emerging drugs for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Marco Pozzi, Silvana Bertella, Erika Gatti, Gabriëlla G.A.M. Peeters, Carla Carnovale, Stefania Zambrano, Maria Nobile

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting up to 5.3% of children and 2.5% of adults depending on the country considered. Current pharmacological treatments for ADHD are based on stimulant or non-stimulant medications, targeting dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems in the frontal cortex and dopaminergic system in the basal ganglia. These drugs are effective and safe for the majority of patients, whereas about 20% of treated patients do not tolerate current therapies or experience insufficient efficacy. The adequate treatment of ADHD is necessary to allow a proper social placement and prevent the acquisition of additional, more severe, comorbidities. Areas covered: We conducted a review of the scientific literature and of unpublished/ongoing clinical trials to summarize the advances made in the last 10 years (2010–2020) for the pharmacological treatment of ADHD. We found many pharmacological mechanisms beyond dopaminergic and noradrenergic ones have been investigated in patients. Expert opinion: Some emerging drugs for ADHD may be promising as add-on treatment especially in children, amantadine to enhance cognitive functions and tipepidine for hyperactivity/impulsivity. Stand-alone emerging treatments for ADHD include viloxazine and dasotraline, which will soon have more clinical data available to support market access requests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-407
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Opinion on Emerging Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • ADHD
  • emerging drugs
  • innovative drugs
  • pharmacological therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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