A Placebo-Controlled Trial of Lisdexamfetamine in the Treatment of Comorbid Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and Adult ADHD

A Placebo-Controlled Trial of Lisdexamfetamine in the Treatment of Comorbid Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and Adult ADHD

Adler LA, Leon TL, Sardoff TM, Krone B, Faraone SV, Silverstein MJ, Newcorn JH.

 J Clin Psychiatry. 2021 Jun 29;82(4):20m13687.
doi: 10.4088/JCP.20m13687.


Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: There is a robust literature on the distinct characteristics of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. It is reassuring to know that SCT responds to stimulants.


Objective: To examine the efficacy of lisdexamfetamine (LDX) versus placebo on behavioral attributes of sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and SCT.

Methods: In a randomized crossover trial conducted January 2016-April 2018, 38 adults with DSM-5 ADHD (via the Adult ADHD Clinical Diagnostic Scale v1.2) and SCT were recruited at 2 academic medical centers and assessed for symptoms of ADHD, SCT, executive function deficits, and functional impairment at baseline and weekly during treatment. Participants received 4 weeks of treatment with either LDX (30-70 mg/d; mean = 59.1 ± 14.8 mg/d) or matching placebo (mean = 66.6 ± 9.1 mg/d) with a 2-week washout before switching to the other arm. The ADHD Rating Scale and Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV SCT subscale were coprimary outcome measures.

Results: There were moderately large treatment effects of LDX vs placebo on SCT ratings in both treatment periods (block 1 effect size = 0.68; block 2 effect size = 0.61), which reached significance only in block 1 owing to carryover effects of the first treatment epoch into the second. Significant effects were also seen for LDX over placebo in ADHD, executive function deficit, and functional impairment ratings, without order effects; no site differences were seen except on the Global Executive Complex score of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version. No moderating effects of sex, age, race, and ethnicity were seen.

Conclusions: Adults with ADHD and comorbid SCT had significant improvement after LDX vs placebo in ratings of SCT, ADHD, executive function deficits, and functional impairment. This is the first study to show improvement in SCT after stimulant therapy in adults with ADHD.

* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.

The website is hand-crafted in ZippyHippo online marketing studio.