Stimulant medication for ADHD in opioid maintenance treatment

Objective: The use of central stimulant medication in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who receive opioid maintenance treatment remains controversial and empirical evidence is limited. Because of the abuse potential of stimulant drugs, Norway has restrictions on prescribing central stimulants to individuals who have substance use disorders or who are on opioid maintenance treatment. In this naturalistic study, we describe experiences from a program through which central stimulant medication was administered to patients with ADHD receiving opioid maintenance treatment.


This report is based on a program evaluation of a combined treatment project designed to provide stimulant medication to patients with adult ADHD who were receiving opioid maintenance treatment. As part of the clinical treatment, patients were monitored closely for any medical issues or adverse medication reactions and provided regular urine samples for analysis and information regarding demographics, treatment goals, legal involvement, diagnoses, substance abuse, and ADHD symptoms. Monitoring occurred at baseline, at 2 months (after patients being stabilized on the central stimulant), and again at 3, 6 and 24 months. 


Among 42 patients initially offered the combined treatment, 24 were actually eligible, 20 started the combined treatment, and 10 stayed in the program. We were not able to identify a single major cause of treatment dropout. Patients reported significantly fewer symptoms of ADHD at the 6- to 8-week point, regardless of whether the data were analyzed using an intent-to-treat (all participants) or per-protocol (only those with complete data at all points) method. Even though self-assessed ADHD scores dropped significantly during treatment, the scores still remained fairly high, suggesting persistent functional impairment. Neither severe complications nor increase in substance abuse were observed during treatment with central stimulants. 


These findings show some promise with regard to the safety and utility of central stimulant medications for patients with ADHD who are receiving opioid maintenance treatment. Our study has methodological limitations, and systematic, well-designed clinical investigations are needed to increase the knowledge base.

Link til artikkel

  • Forfattere: Abel, Eli Kristine Fiksdal; Bramness, Jørgen Gustav; Martinsen, Egil Wilhelm.
  • Publisert: Journal of dual diagnosis 2014 ;Volum 10.(1) s. 32-38
Publisert 1. des. 2014 12:02 - Sist endret 29. juni 2016 12:03