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ADHD in Children Health Center

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New ADHD Medication Affects Sleep Less

Strattera May Be Better Treatment Option for Children With Tics

ADHD Medications and Tics

Tic disorders are another troubling area when it comes to treating kids with ADHD medications. Between 10% and 30% of children with ADHD also have tic disorders, and as many as 60% of those with Tourette's syndrome -- a condition characterized by repeated, involuntary motor and verbal tics -- also have a diagnosis of ADHD.

In a second study, also presented at the child and adolescent psychiatry meeting, McCracken and colleagues reported on 148 children and teens with tic disorders and ADHD treated with either Strattera or placebo for 18 weeks. Strattera effectively relieved ADHD symptoms without worsening tics. The study was also sponsored by Lilly.

ADHD researcher James T. McCracken, MD, tells WebMD that the stimulants used to treat ADHD worsen tic symptoms in roughly a third of cases.

"These patients [with tics disorders and ADHD] have remained a challenging subgroup of patients to treat," McCracken says. "Stimulants can worsen tics, and the medications commonly prescribed to suppress tics don't do much to treat ADHD."

Alternative Treatment

It is estimated that between 3% and 7% of school-aged children and 4% of adults in the U.S. -- more than 8 million people -- have ADHD.

Biederman says many children are not receiving ADHD medication because their parents don't want to put them on stimulants, and many adults avoid treatment for the same reason.

Unlike Ritalin and other stimulants, Strattera is not a controlled drug and there is little potential for abuse. This makes it an obvious choice for treating patients with histories of drug abuse.

"Having an effective alternative to stimulants could make a big difference in the treatment of ADHD," Biederman says. "I would not switch patients who are doing well on Ritalin or the other stimulants, but I would certainly switch those who are struggling with them. And there is a large segment of the population who will not take stimulants or put their children on them no matter how effective they are."

Since its launch early this year, more than 2 million prescriptions have been written for Strattera, according to Lilly.

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