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There are few randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that directly compare ADHD medications.

In the absence of direct comparative trials, indirect comparisons of randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of each medication provide data on the relative efficacy of each medication.1

Indirect comparison is achieved by calculating an ‘effect size’, which can then be used to compare treatment effects between trials.

  • By comparing effect sizes, physicians can make statistically informed decisions about each medication, and administrators can decide whether the efficacy of newer treatments are meaningful enough to warrant a change to formulary rules or reimbursement practices1
  • Because effect-size statistics are adjusted for placebo effects, they give an assessment of efficacy that is not confounded by placebo effects.2

Understanding effect size

Interactive module: Understanding effect size

  1. Faraone SV. Using meta-analysis to compare the efficacy of medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in youths. P T 2009; 34: 678-694.
  2. Faraone SV. Interpreting estimates of treatment effects: implications for managed care. P T 2008; 33: 700-711.
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