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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder stimulant trial in children: an N-of-1 pilot trial to compare stimulant to placebo (FASST): protocol.

BMJ Open 2024 April 18
INTRODUCTION: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy. FASD is associated with neurodevelopmental deviations, and 50%-94% of children with FASD meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-fifth edition diagnostic criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is a paucity of evidence around medication efficacy for ADHD symptoms in children with FASD. This series of N-of-1 trials aims to provide pilot data on the feasibility of conducting N-of-1 trials in children with FASD and ADHD.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A pilot N-of-1 randomised trial design with 20 cycles of stimulant and placebo (four cycles of 2-week duration) for each child will be conducted (n=20) in Melbourne, Australia.Feasibility and tolerability will be assessed using recruitment and retention rates, protocol adherence, adverse events and parent ratings of side effects. Each child's treatment effect will be determined by analysing teacher ADHD ratings across stimulant and placebo conditions (Wilcoxon rank). N-of-1 data will be aggregated to provide an estimate of the cohort treatment effect as well as individual-level treatment effects. We will assess the sample size and number of cycles required for a future trial. Potential mediating factors will be explored to identify variables that might be associated with treatment response variability.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was approved by the Hospital and Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/74678/MonH-2021-269029), Monash (protocol V6, 25 June 2023).Individual outcome data will be summarised and provided to participating carers and practitioners to enhance care. Group-level findings will be presented at a local workshop to engage stakeholders. Findings will be presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. All results will be reported so that they can be used to inform prior information for future trials.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04968522.

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