Background: Galantamine hydrogen bromide (HBr) is a competitive and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. Because of its cholinergic nicotinic mechanism of action, galantamine HBr was hypothesized to have therapeutic activity in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Method: We conducted a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial using daily doses of up to 24 mg/d of galantamine HBr in the treatment of adults who met full Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for ADHD with childhood-onset and persistent adult symptoms. All analyses were intention to treat with the last observation carried forward for subjects who did not complete the full study schedule.
Results: The mean daily doses at week 12 were 19.8 ± 6.4 mg for galantamine HBr and 21.8 ± 4.6 mg for placebo (P = 0.3). There was no statistically or clinically significant greater reduction in ADHD symptoms in subjects treated with galantamine HBr relative to those receiving placebo (P = 0.5). Using last observation carried forward, 4 (22%) of 18 of patients receiving galantamine HBr were considered responders (much or very much improved on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement Scale and at least a 30% reduction on the ADHD Investigator Symptom Report Scale compared with 11% [2/18] on placebo; P = 0.4).
Conclusion: These results do not support the clinical utility of galantamine HBr in the treatment of ADHD at the doses used in this pilot study.