The FASE Study: Best Treatment of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in Adult ADHD

As an on-going feature of our blog forum, we invite members to submit brief write-ups about their current work and the programs they have to offer. In this spirit, we are happy to highlight an ongoing study of our colleagues in the Netherlands: Dr. Sandra Kooij, Dr. Denise Bijlenga, Dr. Suzan Vogel, and Dr. Emma van Andel at PsyQ Expertise Center Adult ADHD in The Hague, and prof. Dr. Aartjan Beekman at GGZ inGeest, Amsterdam UMC, VUmc, The Netherlands

The FASE Study: Best Treatment of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in Adult ADHD
Dr. Emma van Andel, junior researcher at PsyQ Expertise Center Adult ADHD, The Hague, The Netherlands

Sleep problems are highly prevalent among adults with ADHD, of whom 78% in some samples suffer from Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) [1,2]. Such sleep problems are often a source of worry and frustration for patients and can also aggravate ADHD symptoms. Sleep loss resulting from DSPS has been associated with increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer [3,4]. ADHD has also been related to poorer health in some samples [5,6]. Even young and generally healthy people who suffer from both ADHD and DSPS may thus be at great risk to develop these chronic diseases.

The FASE study investigates whether this is indeed the case and if treatment focused specifically on DSPS can improve sleep, ADHD, and health. DSPS can be treated with sleep education, melatonin administration, and/or light therapy: relatively inexpensive and convenient interventions that may increase people’s well-being and perhaps lower the need for (high doses of) ADHD medication.

The FASE study offers 3 weeks of DSPS treatment to 51 adults (18-55y) with ADHD and DSPS. Treatment consists of sleep education plus either (1) melatonin, (2) placebo, or (3) melatonin and light therapy. A broad range of health variables is assessed at baseline, directly after treatment, and 2 weeks later.

This group of adults with ADHD and DSPS is expected to display a suboptimal health profile at baseline and improvements in sleep, ADHD symptoms, and physical as well as mental health after treatment. Preliminary baseline results already suggest suboptimal health outcomes at baseline. Inclusion is nearly complete, so the first results on the effects of the interventions are expected this summer.

The FASE study will give more insight into the relationship between ADHD and DSPS and their relation to health. It also evaluates which DSPS treatment can best improve people’s well-being and decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases.
More information about the FASE study can be found at https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/3831.

References

ADHD and DSPS
1. Van Veen et al., 2010: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20163790
2. Bijlenga et al., 2019: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30927228

Sleep loss and physical health
3. Knutson et al., 2010: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21112022
4. Spiegel et al., 2005: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16227462

ADHD and physical health
5. Instanes et al., 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27664125
6. Vogel et al., 2018: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940457

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