Zinc supplements added to conventional drug therapy may benefit children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to results from a small study.
Zinc supplements added to conventional drug therapy may benefit children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to results from a small study. Dr. Shahin Akhondzadeh and colleagues from Tehran University School of Medical Sciences in Iran randomly assigned 44 children with ADHD to get methylphenidate (the active ingredient in Ritalin and other similar stimulants) plus zinc sulfate or methylphenidate plus a placebo sugar pill for six weeks. Both groups improved significantly during the trial, the team reports in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry. Compared with the placebo group, the group taking the zinc supplement showed a more marked improvement in their condition after 6 weeks. The children receiving the zinc supplements were also three times more likely than those receiving placebo to report nausea, however. Most of the patients in the zinc group also complained about the metallic taste of the medication. No significant differences in the frequency of other side effects were observed. “Zinc is basic for the production and modulation of melatonin, which helps regulate dopamine function, supposed to be an important factor in ADHD and its treatment,” the investigators point out. These findings support those of a previous study suggesting a beneficial effect of zinc supplementation in the treatment of ADHD. Additional studies to replicate these findings and to examine the effect of different zinc doses are recommended. (Source: BMC Psychiatry: Reuters Health News: April 2004.)