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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Nonstimulant ADHD Drug Studied

Alternative to Ritalin Eases Concerns of Parents, Some Doctors

Can Strattera Be Abused?

"There are two issues that motivate us to study nonstimulant alternatives for the treatment of ADHD," said Thomas Spencer, MD, assistant director of psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Although Spencer has studied Strattera extensively, he was not involved in the current research.

"The first issue is an undeserved reputation that stimulants are a bad medication. The second issue is the concern that stimulants used in ADHD therapy are potentially abusable. There is a concern that children with ADHD will divert the medication to their friends. In reality, it's quite difficult to get high from ADHD stimulants, and these stimulants are good for treating ADHD. Treatment, in fact, seems to protect ADHD children from substance abuse."

"However, these concerns make a nonstimulant alternative very attractive. They are easier for the parents to accept, and they involve less hassle for the physician." Ritalin and other stimulants used to treat ADHD are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and therefore require special prescribing procedures for the doctor. "Atomoxetine is effective at addressing ADHD, without the bureaucratic disadvantages associated with stimulant therapy."

In another study presented at the meeting, Kory J. Schuh, PhD, and colleagues explored whether Strattera had any abuse potential. They reviewed information about the specific areas in the brain to which Strattera binds, and whether binding occurred in areas that are known to play a role in substance abuse. Schuch found that Strattera had no activity in these regions, and that the drug had a profile similar to others with no abuse potential.

The researchers concluded that Strattera is free of abuse potential. Both studies were funded by Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Strattera.

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