Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Does Atomoxetine Improve Executive Function, Inhibitory Control, and Hyperactivity?: Results From a Placebo-Controlled Trial Using Quantitative Measurement Technology

Wehmeier, Peter M. MD*†; Schacht, Alexander PhD; Ulberstad, Fredrik MSc§; Lehmann, Martin PhD; Schneider-Fresenius, Christian PhD; Lehmkuhl, Gerd MD; Dittmann, Ralf W. MD, PhD; Banaschewski, Tobias MD, PhD*

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: October 2012 - Volume 32 - Issue 5 - p 653–660
doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e318267c304
Original Contributions

The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of atomoxetine (ATX) on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)–related symptoms assessed as standard variables of a computer-based continuous performance test (cb-CPT) combined with a motion-tracking (MT) device. This was a 2-arm, 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with ADHD (6–12 years). Therapy with ATX started with 0.5 mg/kg per day for 1 week, followed by 7 weeks on the target dosage of 1.2 mg/kg per day. Primary outcomes were cb-CPT/MT standard scores after 8 weeks using mixed models for repeated measurements. In addition, investigator-rated ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS), Weekly Ratings of Evening and Morning Behavior (WREMB), and Clinical Global Impression – Severity-ADHD (CGI-S-ADHD) scores were assessed. Of 128 patients randomized, 125 were evaluated (ATX/placebo: 63/62). Baseline characteristics were comparable in both groups (overall, 80.2% boys; mean [SD] age, 9.0 [1.79] years; comorbid Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition diagnosis, 40.0% oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder; prior stimulant treatment, 24.8%; ADHD-RS total score, 36.99 [11.56]). At week 8, all cb-CPT/MT q-scores were significantly reduced versus placebo (all P < 0.001) with effect sizes (ESs) of reaction time (RT) variation (ES = 0.71), mean RT (ES = 0.41), number of microevents (ES = 1.00), commission error rate (ES = 0.50), distance of movement (ES = 0.90), area of movement (ES = 1.08), omission error rate (ES = 0.70), time active (ES = 0.69), motion simplicity (ES = 0.38), and normalized variance of RT (ES = 0.50). Secondary end points also improved significantly in favor of ATX: ADHD-RS (total score ES = 1.30, P < 0.001; hyperactivity/impulsivity subscore ES = 1.37, P < 0.001; inattention subscore ES = 1.07, P < 0.001), WREMB (total score ES = 1.00, P < 0.001; morning subscore ES = 0.59, P = 0.002; evening subscore ES = 1.02, P < 0.001), CGI-S-ADHD (ES = 1.11, P < 0.001). The results of this study show that ATX for 8 weeks significantly reduced ADHD-related symptoms as measured by the cb-CPT/MT.

From the *Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg; †Vitos Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Weilmuenster; ‡Lilly Deutschland GmbH, Medical Department, Bad Homburg, Germany; §Department of Psychology, Karlstad University, Sweden; ∥Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cologne, Cologne; and ¶Eli Lilly Endowed Chair of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Received April 4, 2011; accepted after revision February 8, 2012.

Reprints: Peter M. Wehmeier, MD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, PO Box 12 21 20, 68072 Mannheim, Germany (e-mail:;

The study was funded by Lilly Deutschland, the German affiliate of Eli Lilly and Company.

Drs Wehmeier and Schacht equally contributed to this study and are both first authors.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.