Adult ADHD Sufferers Are More Prone to Nicotine Addiction

Adults suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to take up smoking and struggle to give up.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults, characterized mainly by patterns of inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains that nicotine can change how the brain works, leading to cravings and addiction.

Medical News Today explains nicotine’s stimulating effects may help improve attention and concentration in people with ADHD, and therefore nicotine may help people with ADHD manage their symptoms.

Meanwhile, a recent study recently published in BMJ highlighted that smokers with mental health disorders are not sufficiently represented in clinical trials regarding smoking cessation. Data has consistently shown that people suffering from mental illness are more likely to smoke than people who do not, hence it is crucial that they are included in clinical trials related to smoking cessation. Sadly the opposite seems to be true.

Smokers with mental health disorders excluded from smoking cessation clinical trials
Titled, “Inequity in smoking cessation clinical trials testing pharmacotherapies: exclusion of smokers with mental health disorders,” the review aimed to examine the practice of excluding smokers with mental health disorders (MDHs) from such clinical trials and why.

The research team analyzed the Cochrane database of systematic reviews until September 2020 for reviews on smoking cessation using pharmacotherapies. “We included 279 RCTs from 13 Cochrane reviews. Of all studies, 51 (18.3%) explicitly excluded participants with any MHDs, 152 (54.5%) conditionally excluded based on certain MHD criteria and 76 (27.2%) provided insufficient information to ascertain either inclusion or exclusion. Studies of antidepressant medications used for smoking cessation were found to be 3.33 times more likely (95% CI 1.38 to 8.01, p=0.007) to conditionally exclude smokers with MHDs than explicitly exclude compared with studies of nicotine replacement therapy,” reported the researchers.

Indeed they concluded that smokers with MHDs are not sufficiently represented in clinical trials examining the safety and effectiveness of smoking cessation medications, yet not enough data was gathered as to why. The study highlighted the importance that trial participation for this minority group is facilitated.