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Trial Underway for Non-Addictive ADHD Drug for Adults

Brain scan (National Institute of Mental Health)

(National Institute of Mental Health)

Euthymics Bioscience Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts says it has started a phase 1 clinical trial of its drug candidate EB-1020 to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. The company says that EB-1020 is notable because it has a low risk of drug abuse liability, a problem with some current drugs for ADHD that makes them tightly regulated and in short supply.

ADHD is a common childhood condition, but can continue to afflict adolescents and adults. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity. National Institute of Mental Health says ADHD affects some 4.1 percent of the U.S. adult population, with more than four in 10 of these cases (41 percent) considered severe.

EB-1020 is a regulator of norepinephrine and dopamine, two neurotransmitters in the brain that send signals from neurons to target cells. Varying levels of these neurotransmitters are associated with the occurrence of ADHD. Historically, patients with ADHD have been treated with psychostimulants, such as amphetamines and their derivatives, although these medicines carry the risk of abuse. EB-1020, says the company, has a profile similar the current ADHD drug atomoxetine, also a non-stimulant, but considered less potent than EB-1020.

Euthymics says the study is a phase 1 trial, which tests for the metabolic and pharmacological effects of drugs on small samples of humans, and for which dosing of health volunteers is underway. Results of the trial are expected in late summer. Last month, a preclinical study published in the journal Synapse, found EB-1020 stimulates neurotransmission in lab animals.

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