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New ADHD Medication

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects between five and 10 percent of Canadian children. It’s the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in children.

Treating the disorder can be very challenging. I spoke with University of Calgary Neurologist Dr. Tamara Pringsheim who says it’s very important to look at the child’s environment first – what’s going on at home, what’s going on at school and make modifcations there first. Medication should be considered a sort of last resort.

The first line of medical treatments for ADHD are the psycho-stimulant medications like Ritalin, Adderall and more. Dr. Pringsheim says these medications offer the greatest improvement of symptoms in the most patients.

However, in about 2o to 25 percent of cases, these stimulant meds don’t work. Either the patient doesn’t like how they feel on them, or they have intolerable side effects. For example, if you have a child who is thin or has trouble eating, the stimulants may be decreasing their appetite, so the stimulants may not be a good treatment for them. Or for example, these  meds can cause trouble sleeping so if your child already has problems sleeping, the stimulants may not be a good fit.

This is where Intuniv XR comes in. Dr. Pringsheim says this medication is another treatment option for these patients. It can be used on it’s own or added to the stimulants if complete control of symptoms has not been achieved. Intuniv XR is taken once a day and is a 24 hour formulation. It must be taken continuously. Unlike the stimulants, you do not go on and off this medication.

And like all medications, it has side effects. Dr. Pringsheim says the most common is sedation – it causes sleepiness. So in her practice, she has been recommending patients take the medication before bedtime. This side effect does tend to lessen the longer you are on the medication.

For more information on Intuniv XR talk to your doctor and visit this website.


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