Transcranial direct current stimulation vs sham for the treatment of inattention in adults with ADHD

JAMA PsychiatryScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | September 08, 2022



Adherence to stimulants in adults with ADHD is low, in part because of the adverse effects and in part due to a suboptimal response.

Transcranial direct current stimulation is non-invasive, low cost, well-tolerated, convenient to use at home, and an effective alternative to pharmacotherapy.

This was a randomized, double-blind, parallel, sham-controlled clinical trial. Adults with ADHD (inattentive or combined subtype) who were not taking stimulants were eligible.

An at-home tDCS device was used (2 mA anodal-right and cathodal-left prefrontal stimulation with 35-cm2 carbon electrodes) for 30-min daily sessions x 4 w.

The primary outcome was inattentive score on the Adult ADHD Self-report scale (CASRS-1).

Fifty-five adults (mean age = 38.3 y; 47% female and 53% male) completed the trial.

After 4 weeks of daily tDCS, the mean attention score was 18.88, while the mean attention score in patients who received sham treatment was 23.63.