NeuroPerspective, the independent, monthly review of the neurotherapeutics area, has released its March issue, which reviews the field of therapeutics for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD).
"There are those that claim that ADHD is a fabrication, a ruse by pharmaceutical companies to ensnare children in a psychotropic web in the name of corporate profits. Even well-regarded media outlets like the New York Times have recently run guest commentary questioning the existence of ADHD," said Harry Tracy PhD, publisher of NeuroPerspective (www.niresearch.com). "But anyone who has dealt with children and adolescents in a clinical or educational context knows that ADHD is very real. It is a biologically based disorder of widespread prevalence and impact, affecting millions of children, adolescents, and adults, and is often inadequately treated, if at all. This does not mean that pharmaceutical companies are not prone to overstating the case, or that individual children are not vulnerable to misdiagnosis and errant treatment, but this is not a diagnostic label without substance, and there are medication options, albeit flawed, that can provide significant improvement."
Tracy, who provides consultation services to the neuropharm industry, continued, "The pervasive utilization of psychostimulants for individuals with ADHD is not without its downside. Many prescribers and parents would embrace a drug that combines clinical effectiveness with a safe side effect profile and reduced abuse risk. There is also an as-yet unmet need for a genuinely long-duration psychostimulant, but pharma companies have dropped their efforts in that area."
Novel mechanisms for the treatment of ADHD have yet to yield a front-line candidate to supplement the psychostimulants, although Shire Pharmaceuticals is trying to make the case for Intuniv. Alcobra's Metadoxine's Phase II data was of interest, it remains to be seen if it will hold up in Phase III. AstraZeneca, Chelsea Therapeutics, Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Euthymics Bioscience, Mnemosyne, Otsuka, Prexa Pharmaceuticals, Supernus, Theravance, and Targacept are among the companies continuing to work on the development of nonstimulant alternatives. AMPA, mGluRs, H3, nicotinics, and NR2D are among the novel targets/mechanisms that still warrant exploration. The several ADHD programs that aim to improve on the legacies of Strattera and bupropion do not have a high hurdle to surpass, but they have yet to prove themselves. The March issue of NeuroPerspective reviews these programs and their prospects.
The March issue of NeuroPerspective also includes commentary on AstraZeneca's radical experimental restructuring of its neuroscience R&D; the furor over bexarotene's prospects as an Alzheimer's therapeutic; and the failure of D-Pharm's stroke program.