Psychostimulants in preschool children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Clinical evidence from a developmental disorders institution

J. K. Ghuman, G. S. Ginsburg, G. Subramaniam, H. S. Ghuman, A. S.M. Kau, M. A. Riddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine psychostimulant response in preschool children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in an outpatient child psychiatry clinic (housed within a developmental disorders institution) over 3, 12, and 24 months of treatment. Method: A systematic retrospective chart review was conducted for 27 preschool children with ADHD who were started on psychostimulants between the ages of 3 and 5 years, inclusive. Two child and adolescent psychiatrists reviewed each chart independently, using the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale to rate the severity of illness and global improvement and the Side Effects Rating Form to rate side effects. Results: Over 24 months, psychostimulants were stopped in three children (11%) because of side effects and concomitant psychotropic medications were added in seven children (26%). The CGI severity-of-illness ratings showed a significant effect of time over 3, 12, and 24 months of psychostimulant treatment (all p values < .0001). Rate of response was 74% at 3 months and 70% at 12 and 24 months. Side effects were mostly mild and occurred in 63% of the children at 3 months, 41% at 12 months, and 29% at 24 months. Conclusions: The findings suggest that preschool children with developmental disorders respond to psychostimulants but need close monitoring because of frequent side effects. Inasmuch as the study participants were recruited from a child psychiatry clinic housed within a developmental disorders institution and had a high rate of developmental disorders, the findings may not generalize to other preschool children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-524
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Developmental disorder
  • Preschool children
  • Stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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