ADHD and tics research

I am delighted to be a collaborator on a very interesting research project taking place in the UK called the SATURN Trial.

This might have you picturing images of planets and the like, but in fact the full title of the study reveals more about the research - Stimulant Medication for ADHD and Tics - Understanding Response versus Non-stimulants (SATURN): a randomised trial of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of methylphenidate versus Guanfacine for ADHD in children and young people with a co-existing tic disorder.

This is a NIHR (National Institute for Health and Care Research) funded study and the reason this is an area of interest is that often tics and ADHD co-occur together and approximately 3-5% of children and young people in the UK have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Stimulant medication (such as modified-release methylphenidate) is often prescribed to children and young people with ADHD. However, some parents and doctors are concerned that stimulants may increase tics and therefore, they favour prescribing non-stimulant medication (such as guanfacine extended release) to children and young people with ADHD and tics.

Non-stimulant medication, however, may be less effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD. With the SATURN study, the research team wants to find out which one of these two medications, modified-release methylphenidate (stimulant medication) or guanfacine extended-release (non-stimulant medication) is better for treating children and young people with both ADHD and tics. The research will test whether Modified Release Methylphenidate is more effective than Guanfacine Extended-Release in improving ADHD symptoms but without worsening tics.

Children and young people aged between 6 and 16 who have a diagnosis of ADHD but also experience tics can take part in the study. The child or young person needs to not be currently taking medication for their ADHD or is looking to change their medication.

You can find out more about this study here or by emailing

You can also be part of the PPI panel(Patient and public involvement) to give us feedback on the research project. Also young people to join our youth panel to give us their views. You can signup for more information:

Advert for SATURN study
Register for the patient associations-TTAG meeting
back to blog