Ask 10 different parents how they treat their children's ADHD and you're likely to get 10 different answers. That's because treatment for ADHD is personalized. Depending on the child, treatment can include:
A single medicine
Combination of medicines
Medicine plus behavioral therapy
Often, medicine treatment for ADHD starts with a stimulant drug, such as:
For more than 30 years, scientists have examined the relationship between food coloring and hyperactive behavior in children, but with mixed results. To date, no conclusive evidence has been found to show that food coloring causes ADHD. Some studies, though, have suggested an association between the two. Most likely, ADHD is caused by the combination of changes in brain structure, environmental factors, and heredity.
Here's a closer look at these drugs and others that are used as part of adjunctive therapy:
Strattera was the first non-stimulant drug approved to treat ADHD. It works by increasing amounts of chemicals called norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This helps lessen ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Strattera is approved for kids aged 6 and older.
Strattera can be prescribed alone. Or, it can be added to the stimulant drugs as an adjunctive treatment.
Side effects from Strattera can include:
These side effects tend to be less pronounced with Strattera than with traditional stimulants.
In rare cases, Strattera has been linked to heart or liver problems. The drug also carries a warning from the FDA about the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers.
Let your doctor know if your child has suicidal thoughts before taking this drug. Also watch for unusual behavior changes while your child is on this medicine and report them to your doctor.
Two drugs called alpha-2 agonists, in extended release form, are now formally approved to treat kids with ADHD: