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Research projects

Risks and benefits of ADHD medication

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Henrik Larsson

Research subject

Randomized controlled trials suggest that ADHD medication has beneficial short-term effects on ADHD symptoms. The increasing use of ADHD medications is being heavily debated, however, because of uncertainty regarding potential adverse outcomes of ADHD medications. The overall objective is to precisely estimate the magnitude of the concomitant and long-term adverse effects of ADHD medications. Our large cohort of 47,439 ADHD patients includes longitudinal information on prescribed ADHD medications and measures of adverse outcomes, including cardiovascular problems, epilepsy, substance abuse, major depression, suicidal behaviors and psychosis/manic-like symptoms. The analyses will use within-individual comparisons—exploring the risks for these outcomes in the same individual during medication versus non-medication periods—to account for confounding factors. The significance of the proposed research is that the results will precisely identify the specific risks and benefits associated with ADHD medication, which previous studies have been unable to adequately explore. These efforts will directly inform medical practice. The proposed research is innovative because the research team would analyze an unparalleled dataset using sophisticated designs to rule out confounding factors; and bring together researchers with expertise in the treatment of ADHD, pharmaco-epidemiology, analysis of Swedish Registers, and biostatics who already have collaborated on novel research.


Research groups

Research funding bodies

  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Swedish Research Council


  • Andreas Jangmo, Andreas Jangmo
  • Arvid Sj√∂lander, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Brian D'Onofrio, Indiana University
  • Isabell Brikell, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Laura Ghirardi, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Paul Lichtenstein, Karolinska Institutet
  • Qi Chen, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Shihua Sun, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Zheng Chang, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden