font size

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Teens (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What stimulant medications are available to treat ADHD in teens?

Several studies have clearly established that pharmacologic (drug) therapy for ADHD is superior to behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy alone. Combining medication and behavioral therapy is less likely to improve behavioral outcomes over medication alone unless patients are also experiencing anxiety or oppositional defiant disorder. The first category of therapeutic medications is chemically classified as "stimulants." Studies have established that 80% of patients with ADHD will have a positive response to their use and this therapy is generally well tolerated. Medications come in short- (3 to 4 hour), medium- (5 to 6 hour), and long- (8 to 10 hour) lasting formulations. The two most common medications are: 1) methylphenidate (for example, Ritalin, Concerta) and 2) amphetamine (for example, Adderall, Vyvanse). Stimulant medications that are in liquid or in patch form (Quillivant-XR and Daytrana, respectively) are now available, allowing children who have difficulty swallowing pills to benefit from the medication. Both the methylphenidate and amphetamine classes of stimulants are felt to positively affect the neurochemical transmitters of the brain that moderate attention, arousal, and impulse control.

What are the potential side effects of stimulant medications?

Side effects may include appetite suppression, irritability, inhibited personality, depression, and sleep issues. Rarely, patients may develop tics and very rarely patients develop hallucinations while taking stimulant medications. Studies show that short-term use of stimulants (up to 3 years) may contribute to a mild slowing of the rate of height acquisition; however, the ultimate acquired height when considering long-term use is not thought to be affected. Recently, there have been concerns regarding the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients treated with stimulants. A recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that several elements be evaluated prior to initiating therapy with stimulant medications. These include:

  1. Patient and family cardiac history of structural or functional heart disease, sudden death, unexplained death in children through young adults, and history of hereditary heart disease (cardiomyopathy and/or long QT syndrome). Concerns of these issues warrant evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist.
  2. Routine EKG or echocardiogram studies are not thought to be necessary for most patients.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2013

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_in_teens/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations