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ADHD symptom severity and diagnosis remains relatively stable over 6-year period following diagnosis in preschool

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Question: What is the trajectory of symptom severity and diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children of 6 years after diagnosis during preschool?

Population: A total of 207 children (75% male) diagnosed with moderate-to-severe ADHD at ages 3–5 years identified from the original Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS). Mean age was 4.4 years at the time of initial evaluation and 10.4 years at 6 years follow-up. The PATS was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating efficacy and safety of methylphenidate among preschoolers with ADHD and has been described in detail elsewhere.

Setting: The USA.

Prognostic factors: Preschool diagnosis of moderate-to-severe ADHD identified in the original PATS at baseline (mean 4.4 years) and 3 months (prior to initiation of medication). Adjustments were made for age, severity at baseline, gender, IQ, comorbidity, medication exposure during PATS, medication status at follow-up, parental level of education and time between screening and first follow-up assessment.

Outcomes: Change in parent-rated/teacher-rated ADHD symptom severity and confirmed ADHD diagnosis at follow-up. Parent-rated/teacher-rated symptom severity was assessed at baseline and …

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  • Sources of funding USA National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Duke University Medical Center, John Hopkins University, New York University Child Study Center, Columbia University, University of California-Irvine and UCLA.


  • Competing interests None.

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