In adults with ADHD, a drug relieves persistent daydreaming and brain fatigue

Jul, 2021 - By WMR

In adults with ADHD, a drug relieves persistent daydreaming and brain fatigue

In adults with ADHD, the medicine lisdexamfetamine, which stimulates brain activity, decreases symptoms of sluggish cognitive pace.

In 38 men and women with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, tests of a medication known to boost brain activity showed early success in lowering symptoms of slow cognitive pace (ADHD). Sluggish cognitive tempo is a combination of symptoms that include chronic dreaminess, weariness, and slow working speed. It has been debated whether it is part of, or independent from, ADHD.

The stimulant lisdexamfetamine (known as Vyvanse) reduced self-reported symptoms of sluggish cognitive tempo by 30%, according to researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine. It also reduced ADHD symptoms by more than 40% and significantly rectified executive brain function impairments, with fewer episodes of procrastination, improved memory, and better prioritisation skills.  

Improvements in ADHD symptoms accounted for one-quarter of the overall improvements in sluggish cognitive pace, such as feelings of boredom, difficulty remaining alert, and indicators of bewilderment, according to the study. The researchers concluded that improvements in slow cognitive pace were connected to some but not all of the decreases in ADHD-related physical restlessness, impulsive behaviour, and/or periods of not paying attention.

The study adds to the growing body of data that sluggish cognitive tempo is separate from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that the stimulant lisdexamfetamine can treat both illnesses in adults, even when they occur simultaneously.

Some experts have struggled to categorise lethargic cognitive tempo as a unique condition, while critics claim that additional research is needed to answer the subject. When patients are first diagnosed with ADHD, these results underscore the necessity of screening symptoms of slow cognitive tempo and executive brain function.

Several dozen volunteers were given regular doses of lisdexamfetamine or a placebo sugar pill for one month as part of the study, which was funded by the drug manufacturer. Researchers next used standardised tests for signs and symptoms of sluggish cognitive tempo, ADHD, and other markers of brain function to track their psychiatric health on a weekly basis.

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