J Korean Med Assoc.  2021 Jan;64(1):49-56. 10.5124/jkma.2021.64.1.49.

Pharmacological treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
  • 2Institute of Brain Research, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by attention deficits, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In the past, ADHD was considered to be limited to children and adolescents. However, ADHD has now been reconceptualized as a lifelong disorder, and two-thirds of ADHD patients continue to have core symptoms and dysfunction in adulthood. Currently, the public and clinicians’ interest in adult ADHD is rapidly increasing in Korea. In addition to interviews with patients for an adult ADHD diagnosis, interviews with family members, existing school records, and neuropsychological tests help clinicians to make a diagnosis. It is necessary to check whether the core symptoms of ADHD were expressed in childhood. Since adults’ symptom patterns differ from those of children, a self-report tool designed for adult ADHD is useful. The medications currently approved for ADHD in adults by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of Korea are long-acting methylphenidate and atomoxetine. Both methylphenidate and atomoxetine improve the core symptoms of ADHD as well as daily function. Methylphenidate and atomoxetine can be used safely as first-line treatments, and the overall adverse effects are tolerable. However, attention should be paid to possible cardiovascular adverse events and misuse. Bupropion, modafinil, alpha2-agonist, and tricyclic antidepressants can also be used off-label.


Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; Adult; Pharmacotherapy; Methylphenidate; Atomoxetine
Full Text Links
  • JKMA
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2021 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr