↓ Skip to main content

Bupropion for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (70th percentile)

Mentioned by

8 tweeters
3 Facebook pages

Readers on

8 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Bupropion for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009504.pub2
Pubmed ID

Verbeeck, Wim, Bekkering, Geertruida E, Van den Noortgate, Wim, Kramers, Cornelis, Wim Verbeeck, Geertruida E Bekkering, Wim Van den Noortgate, Cornelis Kramers


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurobiological condition, characterised by behavioral and cognitive symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity and/or excessive activity. The syndrome is commonly accompanied by psychiatric comorbidities and is associated with educational and occupational underachievement.Although psychostimulant medications are the mainstay of treatment for ADHD, not all adults respond optimally to, or can tolerate, these medicines. Thus, alternative non-stimulant treatment approaches for ADHD have been explored. One of these alternatives is bupropion, an aminoketone antidepressant and non-competitive antagonism of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Bupropion is registered for the treatment of depression and smoking cessation, but is also used off-label to treat ADHD. To assess the effects and safety of bupropion for the treatment of adults with ADHD. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and seven other databases in February 2017. We also searched three trials registers and three online theses portals. In addition, we checked references of included studies and contacted study authors to identify potentially relevant studies that were missed by our search. We included all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effects (including adverse effects) of bupropion compared to placebo in adults with ADHD. Two review authors (WV, GB) independently screened records and extracted data using a data extraction sheet that we tested in a pilot study. We extracted all relevant data on study characteristics and results. We assessed risks of bias using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool, and assessed the overall quality of evidence using the GRADE approach. We used a fixed-effect model to pool the results across studies. We included six studies with a total of 438 participants. Five studies were conducted in the USA, and one in Iran. All studies evaluated a long-acting version of bupropion, with the dosage ranging from 150 mg up to 450 mg daily. Study intervention length varied from six to 10 weeks. Four studies explicitly excluded participants with psychiatric comorbidity and one study included only participants with opioid dependency. Four studies were funded by industry, but the impact of this on study results is unknown. Two studies were publicly funded and in one of these studies, the lead author was a consultant for several pharmaceutical companies and also received investigator-driven funding from two companies, however none of these companies manufacture bupropion. We judged none of the studies to be free of bias because for most risk of bias domains the study reports failed to provide sufficient details. Using the GRADE approach, we rated the overall quality of evidence as low. We downgraded the quality of the evidence because of serious risk of bias and serious imprecision due to small sample sizes.We found low-quality evidence that bupropion decreased the severity of ADHD symptoms (standardised mean difference -0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.86 to -0.15, 3 studies, 129 participants), and increased the proportion of participants achieving clinical improvement (risk ratio (RR) 1.50, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.99, 4 studies, 315 participants), and reporting an improvement on the Clinical Global Impression - Improvement scale (RR 1.78, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.50, 5 studies, 337 participants). There was low-quality evidence that the proportion of participants who withdrew due to any adverse effect was similar in the bupropion and placebo groups (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.35 to 4.10, 3 studies, 253 participants). The results were very similar when using a random-effects model and when we analysed only studies that excluded participants with a psychiatric comorbidity. The findings of this review, which compared bupropion to placebo for adult ADHD, indicate a possible benefit of bupropion. We found low-quality evidence that bupropion decreased the severity of ADHD symptoms and moderately increased the proportion of participants achieving a significant clinical improvement in ADHD symptoms. Furthermore, we found low-quality evidence that the tolerability of bupropion is similar to that of placebo. In the pharmacological treatment of adults with ADHD, extended- or sustained-release bupropion may be an alternative to stimulants. The low-quality evidence indicates uncertainty with respect to the pooled effect estimates. Further research is very likely to change these estimates. More research is needed to reach more definite conclusions as well as clarifying the optimal target population for this medicine. Treatment response remains to be reported in a DSM5-diagnosed population. There is also a lack of knowledge on long-term outcomes.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 8 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 8 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 8 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 5 63%
Lecturer 1 13%
Other 1 13%
Student > Doctoral Student 1 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 3 38%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 2 25%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 1 13%
Nursing and Health Professions 1 13%
Neuroscience 1 13%
Other 0 0%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 May 2018.
All research outputs
of 11,416,021 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 9,088 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 264,971 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 177 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 11,416,021 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 75th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 9,088 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.6. This one is in the 38th percentile – i.e., 38% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 264,971 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 70% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 177 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 20th percentile – i.e., 20% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.