Psychostimulants play a central role in the management of ADHD. Here we review the evidence pertaining to the use of methylphenidate, dexamphetamine and related amphetamine salts, the prodrug lisdexamfetamine and modafinil for the management of comorbid ADHD and non-ADHD indications. There is a growing consensus that stimulant medications are helpful at improving the emotional dysregulation and lability, and oppositional and conduct symptoms that are often associated with ADHD. There is some evidence that psychostimulants may improve outcomes in those with treatment resistant depression, reduce negative symptoms and improve cognitive performance in schizophrenia, and that methylphenidate may reduce binge eating in those with bulimia nervosa. In general medicine, whilst the evidence is at times contradictory, psychostimulants have been shown in some studies to be effective treatments for chronic fatigue and narcolepsy, and to improve outcomes post stroke, post head injury, in dementia and various cancers. It seems likely that these effects often result from a combination of, reduction in fatigue, improvements in concentration and cognitive functioning and a lifting of mood which may be a direct or indirect consequence of the medication. Further studies seem warranted and these should focus on efficacy, effectiveness and long term safety. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'CNS Stimulants'.
Sinita, E., & Coghill, D. (2014). The use of stimulant medications for non-core aspects of ADHD and in other disorders. Neuropharmacology, 87, 161-172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.06.014