Translations:Nicotine therapeutic benefits/124/en

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  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting approximately 8–9% of school-aged children and 4–5% of adults (Froehlich et al., 2007; Kessler et al., 2006; Visser et al., 2007). Although formally the disorder is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (APA, 2000), myriad phenotypic features—many of which are related to cognition broadly defined—have been shown to distinguish those with ADHD from those without the disorder.
  • Together, these findings have led to the hypothesis that individuals with ADHD may smoke in order to alleviate requisite symptoms of the disorder and further suggest nicotine and/or nicotinic agonists can be used to improve aspects of cognitive function in these patients (McClernon and Kollins, 2008). Some support for this hypothesis has been provided by studies which have shown positive effects of nicotine on ADHD symptoms (Gehricke et al., 2009; Shytle et al., 2002) and cognitive performance (Levin et al., 1996; Potter and Newhouse, 2004) in non-smokers with ADHD. Whereas there are currently no FDA-approved nicotinic agonists to treat ADHD, laboratory and small-scale clinical trials have been conducted in recent years, and novel nicotinic pharmacotherapies are on the horizon.