The ADHD Video Game – for Adults
In 2021, the FDA approved EndeavorRX to treat ADHD in children. Now, Akili Interactive has released a version for adults on the Apple App Store.
In 2022, we published the story behind an FDA-approved video game for ADHD. The game, EndeavourRX (developed by Akili Interactive), is available on prescription in the US for children aged 8 to 12 with ADHD – and its efficacy is backed by clinical trials. The gameplay is built around algorithms created by neuroscientists and gaming experts, which target specific areas of the brain to improve attention function.
When we spoke with Akili Interactive, the game was only available on prescription. Now, EndeavourOTC is available for adults in the US from the Apple App Store. An Android version will be available at a later date. The game uses a subscription plan, with prices from $10 per month, and players are encouraged to play every day for six weeks.
The game uses the company’s Selective Stimulus Management Engine (SSME) technology, which encourages players to multi-task whilst filtering out distractions. Players must tap specific stimuli while ignoring others, and simultaneously navigate through a course to avoid obstacles. “Doing both of these at the same time uniquely challenges and alters pathways in the brain, boosting attention and focus,” states the game’s website. “As you progress, the game’s algorithm will measure your performance and adjust in speed and difficulty. In short, as you get better, it gets harder. This results in a personalized treatment experience for each individual, enhancing cognitive functions such as your ability to pay attention, multitask, and prioritize information.”
According to Akili Interactive, increasing numbers of adults are reportedly seeking help for ADHD symptoms, including inattention and lack of focus. At the same time, there are shortages of the ADHD medication Adderall in the US. A statement from Akili Interactive says, “As the gap between demand for care and availability of effective treatments widens, Akili released EndeavorOTC under FDA’s enforcement policy established shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate rapid access to certain low-risk, mental health-related digital health devices.”
Stephen Faraone, Professor at Upstate Medical University and President of the World Federation for ADHD, added, “Compared with children, adults with ADHD are generally overlooked and under-treated. Current treatments are not sufficient, and adults need more effective options, including non-pharmacological solutions. Untreated ADHD can affect an adult in many adverse ways, from their personal to their professional lives, causing undue stress and other significant mental health challenges.”
In May, Akili Interactive published results from a clinical trial involving adults with inattentive or combined-type ADHD. According to a statement, “Nearly three-quarters (72.5%) of adults reported at least some improvement in their quality of life as measured by the validated Adult ADHD Quality of Life Scale (AAQoL), and nearly 50 percent (45.8%) of adults met a prespecified threshold for clinically meaningful improvement.”
Akili Interactive says it will submit the data to the FDA later this year for official approval.
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