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ADHD in Children Health Center

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ADHD: Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

What Causes Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD? continued...

Other factors that may influence ADHD risk include:

  • Cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Exposure to lead during early childhood
  • Brain injuries

Many parents claim sugar makes their child hyperactive. But there is no real evidence that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes it worse.

There may be a link between ADHD and food additives such as artificial colors and preservatives. But that connection still has to be confirmed by studies.

ADHD Treatments

Once your child's doctor has diagnosed hyperactive-impulsive ADHD and has ruled out other possible causes, the next step is to investigate treatments. Every child needs a different approach. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right treatment.

ADHD treatment usually starts with medication. A few ADHD drug options are available:

Stimulant drugs. Despite their name, stimulant drugs have a calming effect on kids with ADHD. These medications include:

These drugs can reduce symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. They come in different forms, including:

  • pills
  • capsules
  • liquids
  • skin patches

Some stimulant drugs are long-acting, which means they keep working throughout the day. No one stimulant has been proven to work better than others. Each child responds differently to these medicines.

Non-stimulant drugs. This newer type of medication, which includes the drug Strattera (atomoxetine), is an alternative to stimulant drugs. Although non-stimulant medicines may not work as effectively as stimulants, they also have fewer side effects.

High blood pressure medicines. Alternatives to stimulants include these blood pressure drugs:

These drugs can help control symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Antidepressants. Drugs that affect mood, including Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride), can sometimes help with ADHD symptoms.

No one drug can "cure" ADHD. Often, a child will need a combination of medicine and other treatments to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms. You may need to work with your doctor to adjust the medicine and dose over time as your child's symptoms change.

Parents and pediatricians should watch carefully for side effects during medication treatments. Common ADHD drug side effects include:

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