Nicotine and Behavior in Adult ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that are frequently treated with stimulant medications such as Ritalin. Many people with ADHD smoke. The smoking prevalence rates are estimated to be 40% in adults with ADHD compared to 20% in the general population. People with ADHD have also more difficulty to quit smoking. Only 29% of smokers with ADHD quit smoking compared to 48.5% of smokers in the general population. Nicotine is a stimulant, which may have properties similar to stimulant medications (e.g., Ritalin) used to treat ADHD. Nicotine may increase attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and, thus, may regulate behavior in individuals with ADHD. Alleviating the symptoms of ADHD and increasing cardiovascular activity through smoking may mimic the effects of stimulant medications and can be a form of self-medication.
The major objective of the study was to examine the effects of nicotine on ADHD symptoms, moods, and cardiovascular activity. The study investigated the effects of nicotine patches on behavioral regulation in adult smokers and nonsmokers with ADHD. Smokers and nonsmokers with ADHD participated in two conditions: (1) nicotine patch and (2) placebo patch. During each condition, symptoms, moods, and side effects were assessed for 2 days during waking hours. An electronic handheld diary, programmed to prompt the participant twice per hour, recorded ADHD symptoms (e.g., difficulty concentrating, impulsivity, etc.), negative moods (e.g., anger, stress), and nicotine side effects (nausea, dizziness). Heart rate and blood pressure were recorded with lightweight ambulatory monitors to indicate cardiovascular activity. Results provided information about the effects of nicotine patches on behavioral regulation in adult smokers and nonsmokers with ADHD.
The inclusion of nonsmokers was important to clarify whether the effects of nicotine on smokers was due to smoking withdrawal. The findings help explain the increased smoking prevalence rates and reduced quit rates associated with ADHD. Knowledge about nicotine's effects on behavioral regulation can help to develop successful smoking cessation programs for individuals with ADHD. The findings on cardiovascular activity may help determine the potential risk for cardiovascular disease in smokers and nonsmokers with ADHD. The study contributed to understanding nicotine's effects on behavioral regulation in a highly vulnerable population such as people with ADHD.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
|Official Title:||Nicotine and Behavioral Regulation in Adult ADHD|
- ADHD Symptoms [ Time Frame: 4 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Mean percentage of endorsement for each electronic diary item (percent of 'yes' on an item) during 2 days on nicotine patches versus 2 days placebo patches
- Negative Moods [ Time Frame: 4 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Mean percentage of endorsement for each electronic diary item (percent of 'yes' on an item) during 2 days on nicotine patches versus 2 days placebo patches
- Side Effects [ Time Frame: 4 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]Mean percentage of endorsement for each electronic diary item (percent of 'yes' on an item) during 2 days on nicotine patches versus 2 days placebo patches
- Blood Pressure [ Time Frame: 4 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]Average blood pressure during 2 days on nicotine patches versus 2 days on placebo patches
|Study Start Date:||August 2005|
|Study Completion Date:||December 2009|
|Primary Completion Date:||December 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
21 mg nicotine patches for smokers for 2 days
7 mg nicotine patches for nonsmokers for 2 days
|United States, California|
|Department of Pediatrics|
|Irvine, California, United States, 92612|
|Principal Investigator:||Jean G Gehricke, Ph.D.||University of California, Irvine|