In a new study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, researchers found a drug known to stimulate brain activity can lower mental symptoms in 38 men and women with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The drug lisdexamfetamine (sold as Vyvanse) reduced by 30% self-reported symptoms of sluggish cognitive tempo.
It also lowered by over 40% symptoms of ADHD and strongly corrected deficits in executive brain function, with fewer episodes of procrastination, improvements in keeping things in mind, and strengthened prioritization skills.
A collection of symptoms including persistent dreaminess, fatigue, and slow-working speed, the sluggish cognitive tempo has been a subject of debate over whether it is part of or separate from ADHD.
In the study, several dozen volunteer participants received daily doses of either lisdexamfetamine or a placebo sugar pill for one month.
Researchers then carefully tracked their psychiatric health on a weekly basis through standardized tests for signs and symptoms of sluggish cognitive tempo and ADHD, as well as other measures of brain function.
They showed that one-quarter of the overall improvements in sluggish cognitive tempo, such as feelings of boredom, trouble staying alert, and signs of confusion was due to improvements in symptoms of ADHD.
The study provides further evidence that sluggish cognitive tempo may be distinct from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and that the stimulant lisdexamfetamine treats both conditions in adults, and when they occur together.
Until now stimulants have only been shown to improve sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms in children with ADHD. The current study is the first to show that such treatments also work in adults.
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The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. One author of the study is Lenard Adler, MD.