Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Review: no evidence that stimulant medication for ADHD influences lifetime risk of substance use or dependence

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Question: Does exposure to stimulant medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an effect on the lifetime risk of substance use or dependence?

Outcomes: Lifetime substance use or dependence (alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine and illicit non-specific drug). Method of assessing substance use/dependence is not reported for included studies.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: PubMed search for key words related to ADHD and substance use, supplemented by a hand search of reference lists of relevant articles, listservs of research organisations and contact with authors who have published longitudinal studies of children with and without ADHD; study inclusion dates January 1980 to February 2012.

Study selection and analysis: Longitudinal studies in children with ADHD where pharmacological treatment preceded the measurement of substance use. ORs were calculated for the risk of substance use/dependence among children with ADHD treated with stimulant medication compared with those not treated. Results were pooled using a random-effects model, and heterogeneity was assessed using the Cochran Q test. Publication bias was assessed using the …

View Full Text


  • Sources of funding: National Institutes of Health.


  • Competing interests None.