Functional impairment outcomes in clinical trials of different ADHD medications: post hoc responder analyses and baseline subgroup analyses

David R Coghill (Lead / Corresponding author), Tamara Werner-Kiechle, Sepehr Farahbakhshian, Caleb Bliss, Brigitte Robertson, Michael Huss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Several recent phase 3 clinical trials of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications have used the Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale-Parent Report (WFIRS-P). Here, we assess WFIRS-P response in individual patients in two pivotal trials of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) and guanfacine extended release (GXR). We also analysed pooled WFIRS-P data from seven phase 3 studies of ADHD medications to shed light on factors associated with baseline functional impairment. The proportion of patients with a change in WFIRS-P score that exceeded the minimal important difference (MID) criteria for response was greater for LDX than placebo in the Family, Learning and School, and Risky Activities domains, and was greater for GXR than placebo in the Social Activities, Learning and School, and Family domains. Responders had significantly worse baseline scores in all WFIRS-P domains (all p < 0.001) than non-responders. In the pooled analyses, baseline WFIRS-P scores in all domains were significantly worse in participants with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) than in those without ODD. Having combined type or hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD, being enrolled into a study in Europe, being male and being younger also had modest negative effects on baseline WFIRS-P scores. The present analysis of WFIRS-P response shows that previously reported group-level improvements in WFIRS-P functional impairment score translated into clinically relevant improvements in many individual participants. Functional impairment is a diverse and subjective construct that is influenced by multiple factors. Optimal management of individuals with ADHD should involve monitoring improvements in functioning and quality of life, as well as symptomatic improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-821
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life/psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Functional impairment
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Response
  • Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale-Parent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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