Possible new ADHD treatment affects receptors

Dopamine receptors in ADHD could make medications more effective

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorder of childhood, with nearly one in 10 children aged 4-17 diagnosed with the disorder at some point.

With two-thirds of those taking medication, a new understanding of how specific dopamine receptors work in the brain could lead to new and more effective medications for ADHD.

"Ask your doctor about new ADHD medications on the horizon."

Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors, which often results in poor school performance and social problems. This decreased impulse control puts them at increased risk for substance abuse.

A dysfunction of the dopamine receptor D4 is associated with both drug abuse and ADHD, although it has been poorly understood. At the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora D. Volkow led a study using mice which helped explain how such receptors play a role in increasing the risk for ADHD - as well as how stimulants could treat the disorder.

Researchers inserted three variants of the D4 receptor into the cells of mice, to look at the biological differences that resulted.

Volkow pointed out that the study was the first one that demonstrated the way the genetic difference could affect the functionality of ADHD patients.

She added that while further research is needed, the discoveries could lead to new ADHD medications. The disorder is commonly treated today with psychostimulant medications.

Results from the study were published in Molecular Psychiatry in August 2011.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 17, 2011
Last Updated:
August 31, 2011