Objective: Several ADHD pharmacological trials reported high placebo response (PR) rates. This study aims to characterize the PR in adult ADHD. Method: A retrospective cohort analysis of the placebo arm (140 adults with ADHD, 18-55 yrs, M:F 46.4%-53.6%) of a 6-week randomized, multicenter, double-blind metadoxine study, using Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) and the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS), was conducted. Results: Pre–post changes in placebo-treated adults were significant for both the CAARS and ASRS, F(2.9, 404.5) = 61.2, p <.00001, F(2.8, 383.0) = 43.1, p <.00001, respectively. Less than half of the participants had a PR which began early in treatment and persisted; almost 50% had a variable, inconsistent PR. Conclusion: In the current sample, PR in adult ADHD was prominent on both symptom scales and the investigator–rater instrument. Therefore, using investigator ratings as a primary endpoint does not necessarily attenuate PR. Of note, about half of the PR is variable, suggesting unreliable determination of efficacy.
- adult ADHD