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9 Feb 2015

Arnold LE et al. J Atten Disord 2015; [Epub ahead of print].

ADHD adversely impacts long-term academic outcomes. Multimodal treatment approaches may offer the most consistent improvement in these outcomes for patients with the disorder compared with pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatment alone, a recent systematic review reports.

Please note that this study was sponsored by Shire.

The aim of this study was to examine the long-term effects of ADHD (≥2 years’ duration) on information learned (measured via achievement tests) and success within the school environment (measured via academic performance) using 176 studies systematically identified from 12 databases in the literature (1980–2012).

A high proportion (75–79%) of both achievement test and academic performance outcomes were poorer in individuals with untreated ADHD, compared with non-ADHD controls. Improvement in both outcome groups was associated with treatment; however, improvement was greater for achievement test scores (79%) than for academic performance (42%), even when IQ was controlled for. When type of treatment approach was examined, more achievement test and academic performance outcomes improved with multimodal (100% and 67%, respectively) than with pharmacological (75% and 33%, respectively) or non-pharmacological (75% and 50%, respectively) treatment alone.

These findings may reflect the benefit of a multimodal treatment approach to school success, which requires achievement in a wide range of areas such as group working, interactions with teachers, being organised and completing homework.

Read more about the impact of ADHD on long-term academic outcomes.

Arnold LE, Hodgkins P, Kahle J, et al. Long-term outcomes of ADHD: academic achievement and performance. J Atten Disord 2015; [Epub ahead of print].

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