Zinc may affect ADHD medication effectiveness in children.




BMC Psychiatry

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD) Zinc
Professional Data: Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD) Zinc


As any parent of a child diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can tell you, coping with the daily frustrations is a challenge at best. ADHD is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric conditions. While there are many theories regarding the cause of ADHD, we now know that many of the children diagnosed today have a biological parent who shares the same diagnosis. Other factors that may contribute to the symptoms of ADHD are fetal alcohol syndrome, lead poisoning, meningitis, and a genetic resistance to thyroid hormone.

The most common treatment for ADHD is the use of stimulant drugs. Whether or not drug therapy is recommended is often related to the severity of the symptoms. The use of methylphenidate, the most commonly prescribed drug for the management of ADHD, has increased 700 percent in the past five years. While conventional drug treatment is common, there is mounting evidence that many ADHD sufferers can achieve dramatic results with dietary, nutritional, and environmental interventions. Particularly among young children, non-pharmaceutical interventions provide a risk free alternative that can be explored as a first line of treatment.

Recently published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, a preliminary study used zinc in addition to methylphenidate in children with ADHD. This six-week, double blind, placebo controlled study involved 44 children who met the requirements for ADHD. These children were placed on 1 mg of methylphenidate daily, while half received 55 mg of zinc a day and the others received a placebo. The progress of each child was determined at days 14, 28, and 42. The results showed that the children receiving the zinc had a better outcome than those did on placebo, according to the Parent and Teacher Rating Scale. The authors concluded that zinc might be beneficial as a supplement to methylphenidate. However, they also stated that more research should to be done on this combination.1


1. Akhondzadeh S, et al. Zinc sulfate as an adjunct to methylphenidate for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children: A double blind and randomized trial. BMC Psychiatry 2004, 4:9