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Objective: Children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with or without psychostimulant treatment, frequently suffer from sleep disturbances. This report evaluates the use of clonidine in the treatment of sleep disturbances associated with ADHD.

Method: A systematic search of a computerized database in an outpatient pediatric psychopharmacology unit of patients treated with clonidine for ADHD-associated sleep disturbances (N= 62; 42 children and 20 adolescents) was performed. Patients were rated retrospectively about the type and severity of sleep disturbances at baseline and after treatment with clonidine.

Results: A majority of patients (85%) treated with clonidine for ADHD-associated sleep disturbances were considered to be much to very much improved by the National Institute of Mental Health global assessment of improvement (sleep). Nighttime clonidine doses ranged from 50 to 800 [micro]g (mean /- SEM; 157 /- 14 [micro]g), and subjects received clonidine for 35.5 /- 3.5 months. There was no association between response and age group, gender, comorbidity, or concurrent pharmacotherapy. Children and adolescents with ADHD with baseline, medicine-induced, or medicine-exacerbated sleep disturbances responded equally well to clonidine treatment. Mild adverse effects were reported in 19 subjects (31%).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that clonidine may be an effective agent for sleep disturbances associated with ADHD, or its treatment, and warrant further controlled investigations.

Copyright 1996 (C) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry