A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of bupropion versus methylphenidate in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Narong Maneeton,1 Benchalak Maneeton,1 Suthi Intaprasert,1 Pakapan Woottiluk2
1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, 2Psychiatric Nursing Division, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Background: Some trials have suggested that bupropion, as well as methylphenidate, is beneficial in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Objectives: The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize the efficacy, acceptability, and tolerability of bupropion in comparison with methylphenidate for ADHD treatment. Included studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared bupropion and methylphenidate. Clinical studies conducted between January 1991 and January 2014 were reviewed.
Data sources: MEDLINE®, EMBASE™, CINAHL, PsycINFO®, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register were searched in January 2014. Additionally, clinical trials were identified from the databases of ClinicalTrials.gov and the EU Clinical Trials Register.
Study eligible criteria, participants, and interventions: All RCTs of bupropion and methylphenidate reporting final outcomes relevant to 1) ADHD severity, 2) response or remission rates, 3) overall discontinuation rate, or 4) discontinuation rate due to adverse events. Language restriction was not applied.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods: The relevant clinical trials were examined and the data of interest were extracted. Additionally, the risks of bias were also inspected. The efficacy outcomes were the mean changed scores of ADHD rating scales, the overall response rate, and the overall remission rates. The overall discontinuation rate and the discontinuation rate due to adverse events were determined. Relative risks and weighted mean differences or standardized mean differences with 95% confidence intervals were estimated using a random effect model.
Results: A total of 146 subjects in four RCTs comparing bupropion with methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD were included. The pooled mean changed scores of the Iowa–Conner’s Abbreviated Parent and Teacher Questionnaires and the ADHD Rating Scale-IV for parents and teachers of children and adolescents with ADHD in the bupropion- and methylphenidate-treated groups were not significantly different. Additionally, the pooled mean changed score in adult ADHD between the two groups, measured by the ADHD Rating Scale-IV and the Adult ADHD Rating Scale, was also not significantly different. The pooled rates of response, overall discontinuation, and discontinuation due to adverse events between the two groups were not significantly different.
Conclusion: Based on limited data from this systematic review, bupropion was as effective as methylphenidate for ADHD patients. Additionally, tolerability and acceptability were also comparable. However, these findings should be considered as very preliminary results. To confirm this evidence, further studies in this area should be conducted.
Keywords: bupropion, methylphenidate, systematic review, ADHD, acceptability, tolerability
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