Researchers discover bupropion, a popular ADHD medication, does not reduce the risk of smoking among young people receiving treatment for ADHD. Interestingly, the medication has been found to help smoking cessation among adults.

Bupropion is sold under the trade name Wellbutrin when it’s prescribed to treat depression or seasonal affective disorder, and Zyban when used to help people stop smoking.

The report, found in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry , did find that some stimulants to appear to reduce the likelihood of smoking. The finding is significant because children with ADHD are at high risk for nicotine dependence.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, evaluated the effects of bupropion on smoking prevention in a study of 57 ADHD patients of both sexes ages 9 to 18 years.

The study group was randomly assigned to daily bupropion or placebo and were followed for an average of 1 year.

Patients treated with bupropion were 2.3 times more likely than placebo-treated patients to start smoking over the course of follow-up. However, these differences were not statistically significant.

The results surprised researchers because bupropion has been found effective in helping adults with smoking cessation.

Nevertheless, on the whole, adolescents who receive stimulants appear to have a lesser risk for smoking although the mechanism is unknown.

Specifically, patients who were treated concurrently with stimulants were 73.6-percent less likely to start smoking over the course of follow-up compared with those who were not treated with stimulants, the report indicates.

Patients treated with stimulants were also 69.5 percent less likely to continue smoking over the course of the follow-up period.

Researchers will continue a clinical trial examining the potential prophylactic effects of a long-acting stimulant treatment in adolescents with ADHD to test its efficacy as an agent against smoking initiation.

Source: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry