Paediatric adverse event rating scale: a measure of safety or efficacy? Novel analysis from the MADDY study

Brenda M.Y. Leung, Priya Srikanth, Barbara Gracious, Irene E. Hatsu, Gabriella Tost, Valerie Conrad, Jeanette M. Johnstone, L. Eugene Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The Pediatric Adverse Event Rating Scale (PAERS) measured adverse events of children aged 6–12 years with ADHD and emotional dysregulation in the Micronutrients for ADHD in Youth (MADDY) study, an eight week multi-site randomized clinical trial of a broad-spectrum multinutrient treatment. Treatment sensitivity of the PAERS was assessed by calculating the treatment difference in change of the item scores from baseline to end of the RCT. Methods: Principal component analysis retained 14 “adverse events” (out of 43 in the PAERS) that reflected ADHD symptoms and emotional dysregulation and was used to group the variables of interest. A combined score ranging from 0 to 5 was created based on symptom presence, functional impairment, and severity. Mean score change was calculated from baseline to week 8 by treatment (multinutrient vs placebo) with intention-to-treat and per-protocol samples. The study has been registered on as Micronutrients for ADHD in Youth (MADDY) Study, trial registration # NCT03252522 ( Results: The 126 children in the ITT sample had a mean age of 9.8 (SD = 1.7), with majority (73%) male, and 72% diagnosed with ADHD prior to the study screening. Baseline presence of PAERS symptoms was similar between treatment groups: the highest proportion was ADHD symptoms, followed by Irritable symptoms. The micronutrient group showed a greater decrease (improvement) in the mean anxiety combined score than the placebo group with a between-group difference in change of −0.36 (95% CI: −0.67, −0.04; p =.03) with ITT data and −0.48 (95% CI: −0.81, −0.15; p =.005) with per-protocol (n = 93) data. Conclusion: The multinutrient supplement did not result in more adverse events than placebo, suggesting it is a safe intervention. In addition to assessing actual adverse events, the PAERS may be a useful adjunct outcome measure for ADHD behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1602
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • adverse events
  • micronutrients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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