Objectives To assess the presence of symptoms consistent with Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) in all patients with early-treated phenylketonuria (PKU) in the State of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil.
All of the patients diagnosed with PKU by newborn-screening tests, with ages varying from 6 to 18 years and who started treatment before 60 days of life and presented phenylalanine levels consistently below 6 mg/dL throughout treatment, were included. The subjects were invited to complete a questionnaire that collected sociodemographic, gestational and clinical data. ADHD symptoms were assessed using the revision of the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham Questionnaire.
A total of 34 patients were evaluated, who were 53% male and 94% white and had an average age of 12 years, and 15% were born premature. According to the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham Questionnaire, 13 patients (38%) met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, with 2 patients having the inattentive type, 6 patients having the hyperactive or impulsive type and 1 patient having the oppositional defiant disorder type.
Although the patients with PKU were regularly treated from birth, there was a high prevalence of symptoms consistent with ADHD. A pathophysiological interface that involves the dopamine metabolic pathway may exist between the two conditions.