-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Children with specific gene
variants respond better to the drug methylphenidate (Ritalin,
Concerta), which is widely used to treat attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study says.
The finding could help improve treatment of ADHD, according to
the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center researchers.
"Physicians don't have a good way of predicting who will experience great improvement in ADHD symptoms with a particular medication, so currently we use a trial-and-error approach. Unfortunately, as a result, finding an effective treatment can take a long time," lead investigator Dr. Tanya Froehlich, a physician in the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, said in a medical center news release.
"With more information about genes that may be involved in ADHD medication response, we may be able to predict treatment course, tailor our approach to each child, and improve symptom response while decreasing health care costs," she said.
The researchers tested 89 children aged 7 to 11 with ADHD and
found that those with specific variants of the dopamine transporter
(DAT) and dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) genes showed greater
improvement in hyperactivity and impulsivity after taking
methylphenidate than those without the gene variants.
Specifically, children with the DAT 10-repeat variant and the
DRD4 gene 4-repeat showed more response to methylphenidate than
those without the variants. A repeat is a short nucleotide coding
sequence in a gene that's repeated.
The study was published Oct. 21 in the
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Further research in a larger number of patients is needed to
confirm these findings and their clinical significance, the
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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