AHRQ report shows that parent training is effective for treating young children with ADHD

Research Activities, December 2011, No. 376

A new AHRQ research review has found that formal parenting strategies are low-risk, effective methods for treating young children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Parenting strategies, also known as parent behavior therapy (PBT), are supported by strong evidence for children under the age of six, with no reported complications or harms. However, one large barrier to success of PBT is parents dropping out of therapy programs, the report found. For children older than age six, the report found low evidence that medications such as methylphenidate (sold under the trade name Ritalin®) and atomoxetine (sold as Strattera®) used to treat ADHD symptoms are generally safe and effective for improving behavior. Evidence is unclear about the long-term effects of medications used for ADHD beyond 1 to 2 years.

The review prepared for AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program summarizes evidence on the effectiveness and adverse events of interventions for preschoolers at high risk for ADHD. The review also compares long-term effectiveness and adverse events of interventions for ADHD among persons of all ages, and summarizes patterns of identification and treatment for ADHD. These findings and future research needs are summarized in the review, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Effectiveness of Treatment in At-Risk Preschoolers; Long-Term Effectiveness in All Ages; and Variability in Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

You can read and download the full review and other publications from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site.

Current as of December 2011
Internet Citation: AHRQ report shows that parent training is effective for treating young children with ADHD: Research Activities, December 2011, No. 376. December 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/dec11/1211RA34.html