A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of sapropterin to treat ADHD symptoms and executive function impairment in children and adults with sapropterin-responsive phenylketonuria

Burton, B.; Grant, M.; Feigenbaum, A.; Singh, R.; Hendren, R.; Siriwardena, K.; Phillips, J., 3rd; Sanchez-Valle, A.; Waisbren, S.; Gillis, J.; Prasad, S.; Merilainen, M.; Lang, W.; Zhang, C.; Yu, S.; Stahl, S.

Mol Genet Metab. 2014 Dec 24; 114(3):415-24

Abstract

Symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly inattention, and impairments in executive functioning have been reported in early and continuously treated children, adolescents, and adults with phenylketonuria (PKU). In addition, higher blood phenylalanine (Phe) levels have been correlated with the presence of ADHD symptoms and executive functioning impairment. The placebo-controlled PKU ASCEND study evaluated the effects of sapropterin therapy on PKU-associated symptoms of ADHD and executive and global functioning in individuals who had a therapeutic blood Phe response to sapropterin therapy. The presence of ADHD inattentive symptoms and executive functioning deficits was confirmed in this large cohort of 206 children and adults with PKU, of whom 118 responded to sapropterin therapy. In the 38 individuals with sapropterin-responsive PKU and ADHD symptoms at baseline, sapropterin therapy resulted in a significant improvement in ADHD inattentive symptoms in the first 4weeks of treatment, and improvements were maintained throughout the 26weeks of treatment. Sapropterin was well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile. The improvements in ADHD inattentive symptoms and aspects of executive functioning in response to sapropterin therapy noted in a large cohort of individuals with PKU indicate that these symptoms are potentially reversible when blood Phe levels are reduced.

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