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“New” treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)

This article will compare stimulant medicine vs.  “newer” non-stimulant medicine.

The “gold standard” treatment for ADHD  includes, but is not limited to “stimulant” medicines with the brand names: Adderall™, Adderall XR™, Concerta™, Daytrana™ (a patch), Focalin XR™, Metadate™, and Vyvanse™. Though these trade names are new, the active ingredients are actually quite established and have been around for over 60 years.  These different brand names in essence provide for variations of a slower release delivery systems for the active molecules dextroamphentamine sulfate or methylphenidate to make them much better tolerated and to reduce the chance of side effects.

The “new” molecules approved by the FDA to treat ADHD are Intuniv™, Kapvay™, and Strattera™. These are commonly called non-stimulants.  Strattera was the first, FDA approved in 2002 to treat ADHD.  Intuniv™ and Kapvay™ though FDA approved only over the last couple of years (September 2009 and September  2010 respectively) have been used by doctors off-label for over 20 years to treat ADHD under the names Tenex™ and Clonidine.  Non-stimulants though more recently approved by the FDA than their stimulant counterparts may agree with some children better but have potential side effects as well.   An advantage of these medicines is that prescriptions can be electronically transmitted into pharmacies by doctors  (do not require a written prescription to be filled) and refills can be provided.  Kapvay™ and Intuiniv™ also have an advantage of being FDA approved to be used in combination with traditional stimulant medication to make the stimulant possibly more effective and this may also help reduce side effects in some instances.

Stimulants and non-stimulant medicines are not FDA approved to treat: Depression, Anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Asperger’s.  However, as these conditions may co-exist with ADHD, the presence of these diagnoses or symptoms does not necessarily preclude co-administration of a stimulant or non-stimulant medicine.

There are a dizzying array of medicines that are available to help allay the impact of ADHD.  Every child is unique and close monitoring and careful consideration is helpful when choosing any ADHD medicine. Child Psychiatrists, Pediatricians and Nurse Practitioners are knowledgeable sources and are all licensed to prescribe these medications.  Medicine alone however is not all that will be required when treating ADHD.  A close and trusting relationship with your caregiver and a patient, positive, understanding environment with clear rules and expectations at home and at school go a long way towards helping.

Thank you for your time!

(We very much hope that you have enjoyed this article. Please remember that nothing in this article is meant to be given as any type of medical or psychiatric advice and is for informational purposes only.  Nor is this article intended to substitute in any way for professional medical or psychiatric advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician, psychiatrist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical or psychiatric condition. We strongly advise that you never disregard professional medical or psychiatric advice or delay in seeking advice because of anything you have read on the Acadian Care website.  Thank you. )