My Child Have ADHD

Health |

In general, the medical community is in agreement that a multi-pronged approach to ADHD combining medication with behavioural therapies works best. Although family environment does not cause ADHD, it certainly can influence behaviour. Behaviour therapy usually involves family training through sessions with a qualified therapist.

Although medications are only one-prong of the solution, they often generate the most concern from parents. The goal is to find a medication and dosing schedule that gives maximum results with minimal side effects. It is clear that many children with ADHD improve their performance and behaviour when treated with medications, but any medication for a chronic condition should be given with particular care.

Tried and True

Ritalin and other central nervous system stimulants, such as Adderall and Concerta, are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. Although media coverage of ADHD is a product of recent years, Ritalin has been around far longer. It has been dispensed from pharmacies for over four decades.
The benefit to an older drug is that the cost is lower and we know the side effects. Previously, one of the greatest downfalls to Ritalin was the need to take additional doses every four hours, but new long-acting formulations for central nervous system stimulants are now available for children who need extended coverage.

On the upside, multiple doses are not needed and parents control dispensing at home, giving children the privacy of taking medication without a trip to the school nurse. On the downside, because formulations work using a drug-release system, you cannot cut the dosage and you have to make sure your child does not chew the pill.

In With the New

Many US pharmacies have begun stocking Strattera, the first non-stimulant medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ADHD. Choosing a drug new to the market has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include shown success in controlling symptoms without causing insomnia and a less complicated refill process, since Strattera is not a controlled medication as stimulants are. The disadvantages: the price tag is high and as with any new medications that is widely dispersed for the first time, certain side effects might not yet be known. If your child is taking Strattera make sure to report any reactions you think may be associated with the drug.