[Skip to Navigation]
December 1972

Levoamphetamine and Dextroamphetamine: Comparative Efficacy in the Hyperkinetic Syndrome: Assessment by Target Symptoms

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio; Washington, DC; Arlington Heights, Ill; Baltimore
From the Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University, Columbus (Dr. Arnold); the departments of psychiatry (Dr. Wender) and pharmacology and experimental therapeutics (Dr. Snyder), Johns Hopkins University College of Medicine; and the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr. Wender). Dr. McCloskey is in private practice.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(6):816-822. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750300078015

In a nine-week double-blind crossover comparison of dextroamphetamine, levoamphetamine (Cydril), and placebo with 11 hyperkinetic children, effects were assessed by an established teacher rating scale, a parent rating scale, and a new tool, weekly quantification of parent-selected target symptoms. Both active drugs were significantly more effective than placebo. Dextroamphetamine seemed consistently superior to levoamphetamine, though not to a significant degree (on this size sample). Levoamphetamine seemed "slower starting," requiring three weeks to show significant benefit on target symptoms, whereas dextroamphetamine showed nearly its maximum benefit the first week. Levoamphetamine seemed better for hyperactivity and aggressiveness than for inattentiveness, whereas dextroamphetamine seemed equally beneficial for all three. These data are consistent with the possibility that therapeutic effects of amphetamine on hyperkinetic children are mediated, at least in some, by dopaminergic systems.

Add or change institution